Clinical Tip: A gradual approach to swallowing pills

August 1, 2006

Here's a technique I suggest to parents to help teach a child to swallow pills: Using a soft, pliable piece of bread, make a series of bread balls, starting with a tiny ball and working up to a pill-sized ball. Line up the balls on a table in order of increasing size and make a game of having the child swallow the balls from smallest to largest. Putting the ball on the back of the tongue is critical to success. It also helps to have the child wash down the bread with a favorite beverage. Using this method I have taught children as young as 4 years to swallow sizable pills.

Jenny Henkind, MDStamford, Conn