Liquid medicines usually come with a cup, spoon, or syringe to help measure the right dose. Be sure to use it. The devices that come with the medicine are better for measuring than kitchen spoons because the amount of medicine kitchen spoons hold can differ a lot. For example, one kitchen teaspoon could hold nearly twice as much as another.

The numbers on the side of measuring instruments are usually small, so read them carefully. Here are the most common types of dosing instruments and tips for using them:

Dosage cups

For children who can drink from a cup without spilling. Look closely at the numbers on the side to make sure you get the dose right. Measure out the liquid with the cup at eye level on a flat surface.

Cylindrical dosing spoons

For children who can drink from a cup but are likely to spill. The spoon looks like a wide straw with a small spoon at the top. Measure the liquid in the spoon at eye level. Have the child sip the medicine from the spoon.


For children who can’t drink from a cup. Put the medicine into the dropper and measure at eye level. Give to the child quickly before the medicine drips out.


For children who can’t drink from a cup. You can squirt the medicine into the back of the child’s mouth where it’s less likely to spill out. Some syringes come with caps to prevent the medicine from leaking out. Be sure to remove these caps before giving the medicine to the child, or the child could choke on the cap. Throw away the cap or place it out of reach of children. You can fill a syringe with the right dose and leave it capped for a babysitter to give to your child later. Make sure you tell the sitter to remove the cap before giving the medicine to your child. It’s best to use syringes specially made to give medicines to children. But if you find you have to use a hypodermic syringe, always remove the needle first.