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Drugging the little ones ... to get a good night's sleep?
July 22, 2010 - Kylie Saari
A good friend of mine from childhood often recounts her parents giving her and her brother and sister grasshoppers as a bedtime snack on special evenings.
I am not talking about the hopping insects, no, they were given alcoholic beverages on a somewhat regular basis because it would put them right to sleep, allowing their parents to have some alone time.
My friend, now a successful pharmacist with no lingering problems from the booze, finds the story amusing, as did her friends.
A couple years ago, my son began suffering trouble getting to sleep, and when he did, regular night terrors kept his father and I in a constant state of alarm.
His doctor advised us to give him Benedryl every night before bed to help him sleep.
Today, the blogosphere is all atwitter about a report linking giving non-prescription drugs to children to help them sleep is abusive.
Alcohol, diphenhydramine (the drug in Benedryl), dramamine, and others are a common suggestions at playgroups when mothers complain of sleepless - or napless - kids. I have heard it many times, and I am assuming all you moms out there have too.
We know the harrowing hopelessness of children who won't sleep. We know the temptation to give them something to help them calm down. We have been under the stare of uppity-miss-know-it-alls at the grocery store
Apparently so. The study shows that while many of those who slip drugs to their little ones are cautious and only give the amount intended for their weight - and never alcohol - you can never be sure how a little body with react.
And some people are stupid.
Giving their children anti-psychotic medications, street drugs, or worse, these kids end up delayed or dead.
The parents give them to kids so they can go out to the bar without the kid calling the police or simply so they can watch a movie in peace.
Anyone can see that is abusive, and as legislation goes, you can't draw a line and say only stupid people shouldn't do it.
For now, it isn't illegal to give over-the-counter meds to kids. Maybe it should be. Talk to your doctor about the kid's problem; it is their job to help.
As for my experience with my son and Benedryl, it didn't work anyway.
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