Instilling Drops in a Toddler

We’ve all had that screaming, non-co-operative toddler or small child in the clinic. Usually the whole waiting room can hear them. Here is a useful tip for quickly instilling drops. Jim Ellis MD taught me this in the USA in 2008 and I’ve never looked back. Thanks Jim! It’s the only way to install drops!

There are two steps. Firstly, mum (or dad) holds the child in a hug position, face to face and positions the legs either side of her. You and mum are knee to knee at the same height. Then mum lies the child back down on her lap with the child’s head touching your knees and mum holds the hands on the childs chest. There’s a few great reasons why this works.

  1. The legs are not anywhere near you

  2. Mum has the hands

  3. Lying down on their back reduces their ability to move

  4. If you rest your hands on the forehead and it’s very easy to control their upward movement

  5. If they resist, the only way is up for them and it’s tiring and they don’t last long.

  6. The drops can be instilled quickly and they can sit straight up for a comforting hug from mum.


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