If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve had all kinds of people give you advice in myriad different areas. Many of them may be in-laws or friends or relatives with children themselves; or they might be strangers in the street with brilliant (or, not-so-intelligent) ideas on how to get your kid to stop throwing a temper tantrum (phrased a bit less politely, “shut that freakin’ kid up!”). Or, they may be Evil Monkeys trying to get you to dose your kids with Benadryl to get them to sleep. However, Evil Monkey owns up to his wrong-headed acceptance of folk medicine, linking an article showing that bit of conventional wisdom ain’t all it was cracked up to be.

Comments

  1. #1 L
    July 11, 2006

    It is also sometimes amazing that these advising people don’t have any child at all.

    I gave up any educational principles when my daughter is born. Now, _she_ is educating me. It turns out that she’s highly reliable when it comes to giving educational advices, for she knows better than anybody what it is being a child.

  2. #2 Evil Monkey
    July 11, 2006

    To be fair, I was never really serious about the Benadryl.

    Nyquil, on the other hand….

  3. #3 Eric Wallace
    July 11, 2006

    Folk medicine?

    [A]bout half of pediatricians recommend that children under age 2 can be given diphenhydramine to help them sleep

    Sounds like conventional medical advice to me; just wrong. What’s a hapless parent to do?

  4. #4 Tara C. Smith
    July 11, 2006

    You’re right; “folk medicine” wasn’t a good term to throw in there. Instead, it was advice that hadn’t previously been tested scientifically (at least, in the age group it was being recommended for).

  5. #5 bigring55t
    July 11, 2006

    If you are going to give a kid anything, try Motrin. In my 20 month experience as a dad its worked quite well. Evil Monkey- They used to give whiskey to kids with colds to get them to sleep. One of my best friends told me her Dad used to get corn whiskey when he was sick (1 tsp), this was in 1919. One time when he was 3, his mom gave him some and the next morning he would not wake up. She became convinced he had sleeping sickness, roused the whole town (small town in NE) and sent for the doctor. When he arrived he leaned over, sniffed and asked to see where the whiskey was kept. When she opened the cabinet, most of the rest of it was gone. Turns out he snuck out of the crib, and polished off as much as he could and was still drunk as a skunk. Happily enough there was no long term damage, but the incident did get a mention in the local paper..

  6. #6 Guitar Eddier
    July 12, 2006

    I don’t know, Tara.

    It all sounds like a variation on the theme of washing the kids mouth out with soap for using profanity. Personally, I’m not into using chemical warfare to induce desirable behaviour on the part of rugrats. It could be unsafe.

    GE

  7. #7 Tara C. Smith
    July 12, 2006

    You lost me. I’ve never used the Benadryl, and the post linked shows how in a trial, it didn’t work to get kids to sleep anyway.

  8. #8 Guitar Eddie
    July 12, 2006

    “You lost me. I’ve never used the Benadryl, and the post linked shows how in a trial, it didn’t work to get kids to sleep anyway.”

    Oops. Sorry, Tara. I didn’t mean to imply that you used the Benedryl. I just meant that I thought the idea of using chemicals to discipline one’s kids is a bit creepy. Unless the kids’ behavioural problems have some neurochemical etiology (e.g. ADHD, etc.), it isn’t better living throught chemistry.

    GE

  9. #9 Tara C. Smith
    July 12, 2006

    Ah, okay. I don’t think it was meant as a punishment, FWIW–just as a way to help them (and, therefore, you as a parent) sleep.

  10. #10 Stephen Uitti
    July 12, 2006

    For colds, i now use vodka (and orange juice – a screwdriver) to get to sleep instead of Nyquil. For me, it’s the same active ingredient, goes down easier, and is cheaper. Getting the right dose is easier too. There’s no recomendation on the bottle, so i just use what works. Nyquil comes with a measuring cup, so i never get it right. I can’t sleep if i’m dizzy, so Benadryl doesn’t work for me at all. A little vodka will dry me out, let me sleep, and wear off in an hour so the sleep actually counts. Fortunately, i’ve not needed it for many months.

    The kid won’t drink Nyquil, or even a screwdriver. So it’s Motrin, and maybe a decongestant. They’re both liquid candy. He can get at the medicine cabinet, but the evidence suggests that he only wants bandaids. I’m cool with that.

    Now then. Giving your kids Benadryl when they’re healthy, but just won’t sleep? Feh. I promise a treat in the morning if he can manage to get to sleep. I tell him how to do it. I check. I reward, or not, in the morning. This works.

  11. #11 mary
    July 13, 2006

    Twenty years ago on a surgical floor in a hospital, it was well known that often someone who used alcohol to get to sleep, would sleep well with benadryl replacing the alcohol. Don’t know why it wouldn’t work for some young people.
    An interesting thing I learned from our son-in law last week: Our grandson has been having a few itches under the cast on his broken arm. His dad has been placing the tip of his air compressor (LOW PRESSURE!) just inside the cast and directing the air flow to the itchy areas…fixes the itch! Be certain the air compressor is a LOW pressure (less than 90 lbs), or it can blow a hole thru the skin under the cast, causing a sore.

  12. #12 Urinated State of America
    July 18, 2006

    “She became convinced he had sleeping sickness, roused the whole town (small town in NE) and sent for the doctor. When he arrived he leaned over, sniffed and asked to see where the whiskey was kept. When she opened the cabinet, most of the rest of it was gone. Turns out he snuck out of the crib, and polished off as much as he could and was still drunk as a skunk. ”

    Funny, my mom gave me a hot toddy for a cold when I was four, and I did the same thing as the kid in that story – I found a whiskey bottle after a party and drank it. Fortunately there wasn’t much in it, but my sister found me on the living room floor the next day with a big smile on my face.

  13. #13 Urinated State of America
    July 18, 2006

    Funny, we’ve tried the benadryl trick on the airplane (11 hour transatlantic flight) with the little one, and it hasn’t worked worth s**t.

    So now we have scientific confirmation.

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