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How to Get a Child to Take Charcoal Tablets

By Rose Kivi

Ingesting charcoal tablets may help relieve painful excess gas in the colon, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It is most effective when taken immediately before meals and again an hour after meals. Charcoal tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, which is problematic in some young children. For kids who can swallow pills, but are resistant to swallowing charcoal, you can disguise the tablets as sweet treats.

Have your child drink a sip of water to moisten her mouth, which makes pill swallowing easier.

Practice swallowing small candies before having your child swallow the charcoal tablet. Start with a cake sprinkle. Place the cake sprinkle in the middle of your child's tongue and ask him to take a few sips of water and swallow the candy. Do this several times until he is comfortable swallowing the cake sprinkle. Then have your child practice swallowing a small mint, such as a Tic Tac. Once your child is comfortable swallowing the Tic Tac, he should be able to swallow the charcoal tablet.

Coat the charcoal tablet with cake icing to disguise the taste and look of the charcoal tablet. Or, as an alternative to the cake icing, place the charcoal tablet inside a small cube of gelatin. Place the coated tablet or small gelatin cube in the middle of your child's tongue and have her take a few sips of water to swallow the charcoal.

Tips

Have your child drink the water out of a straw if she has difficulty swallowing the charcoal tablet. Some children find it easier to swallow pills when drinking from a straw, rather than straight from the cup.

Stay calm and patient as your child learns how to swallow the charcoal tablet. It may take numerous attempts before your child is successful.

Warnings

Do not administer charcoal tablets to children under the age of 12 years old without a doctor's approval, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Always get a doctor's permission before giving your child charcoal pills. Its use is contradicted when certain medical conditions are present or with certain medications.

Follow your child's doctor's recommendations on dosages for administering charcoal tablets.

Administer charcoal pills at least two hours apart from other medications.

The Washington Poison Center warns that "charcoal tablets or capsules should NOT be used for poisons." Instead, the powdered form of activated charcoal, designed to be mixed with water or soda before it is ingested, is used for poison emergencies. It should only be used with a doctor's or poison control center's recommendation.

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