Go to sleep, my little pickney

Friday, July 26, 2013

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It's a hush-hush issue with many mothers, and once you're in on the secret, you'll either adapt it to your lifestyle, be indifferent, or be aghast. It's the issue of moms using antihistamines or sleep-inducing medications on their children; to keep them calm in situations like when they have to take long drives or long flights.

Many mothers are unapologetic about administering these medicines to their children, in fact there are even support forums online which direct parents to the best medicines to administer.

So what do doctors say about the issue?

"Some parents innocently use these in order to make their child/children sleepy, not knowing how harmful this may be," Paediatrician Dr Christine Gabbado said. "In my opinion it could be considered as a form of child abuse."

The side effects of administering excessive or even the recommended dosage of drugs used as sleep aids can include fatigue, dizziness, hallucinations, headaches or difficulty urinating.

But this has not deterred mothers, including 34-year-old Natalia, who confessed to using antihistamines when her four-year-old has to make the long flight to Boston in the summers to see her dad.

"This is the only thing that keeps her calm and allows other passengers to enjoy their flight," she said. "Antihistamines are perfectly safe. The mothers who make their children sleepy so they can go party are the bad mothers. The mothers who do it to save their sanity can be forgiven."

What's your take on the issue? Email clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.




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