Unnecessarily Medicating Your Toddler Is (Almost) Never Okay

benadrylI know your secret. It's okay, I'm not judging you -- really. I've been there myself. Pretty much every other mom I know has been there, too. So you can stop feeling ashamed: At one point or another, most of us have resorted to using Benadryl as Ambien-for-toddlers. In a recent poll of over 26,000 mothers, 1 in 5 moms admitted to to giving their kid Benadryl or Tylenol to get through a long car ride or plane trip; Nancy Snyderman, M.D., a pediatrician involved with the poll, said she suspects the numbers are actually higher.

Well of course they are -- who wants to 'fess up that she drugs her tot for easy travel? But according to Snyderman, the occasional (and I stress, occasional) use of Benadryl to help a kid sleep through a flight or a drive is no big deal, provided parents get the dosage right. And you'll never guess who else is "guilty" of trying out this technique ...


Even moms who are doctors get desperate enough to dose their own children! It makes perfect sense, if you ask me. And if doctors think giving Benadryl or Tylenol before a big trip is safe enough for their kids, I'll take that as a green light.

And now for some very slight backpedaling: I'm not cool with the results of another question on the same poll. Again, I'm not judging, because Lord knows we've all been at the ends of our ropes often enough, but I don't approve of the fact that 1 in 12 moms apparently give their kids Benadryl, etc. to go to sleep at bedtime when they're home -- sort of like how you might knock back a glass of red to wind down at the end of the day.

To me, this seems dangerous. Not immediately physically harmful, but dangerous in a bad-habit-forming kind of way. Kids need to know how to go to sleep without the aid of pharmaceuticals; as someone who's had trouble sleeping my entire life, I can promise you that the last thing you want to set your kid up for is years of sleep deprivation.

Do you ever give your kid Benadryl or Tylenol to go to sleep?

Image via Matt/Flickr

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