Liquid medication administration


If the product is a suspension, shake well before using.

Do not use silverware spoons for giving medication. They are not all the same size. A silverware teaspoon could be as small as a half teaspoon or as large as two teaspoons.

Measuring spoons used for cooking are accurate, but they spill easily.

Oral syringes have some advantages for giving liquid mediations.

  • They are accurate.  
  • They are easy to use.  
  • A capped syringe containing a dose of medication can be taken with a child to daycare or school.

There can be problems with oral syringes, however. The FDA has reports of young children choking on syringe caps. To be safe, remove the cap before you use an oral syringe. Throw it away if you do not need it for future use. If you need it, keep it out of reach of infants and small children.

Dosing cups are also a handy way to give liquid medications. But, dosing errors have occurred with them. In the past, some product instructions gave the dose in teaspoons. But, the measuring cup in the package was marked with tablespoons. Always check to make sure the units (teaspoon, tablespoon, ml, or cc) on the cup or syringe match the units of the dose you want to give.

Liquid medications often don’t taste good, but numerous flavorings are now available and can be added to any liquid medication. Ask your pharmacist.

Unit conversions
1 ml = 1 cc
2.5 ml = 1/2 teaspoon
5 ml = 1 teaspoon
15 ml = 1 tablespoon
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.