Is Medicine Made to Look and Taste Too Much Like Candy?

Over the weekend, I heard a mother at the library telling her child that they would soon be going home so she could take some “candy” for her cough. I couldn’t help but cringe as it reminded me how much it had bothered me when my own children were young that all the medicine and vitamins made for children really did look and taste like candy. While I understand that this it to make it so that children will actually take the nasty stuff, I also think it can’t possibly be a good idea for young children to be confused about the difference between drugs and candy.

I had the same discomfort with markers that smelled like fruit and food and scented play dough. It just seemed to be encouraging kids to think of toxic and dangerous items as fun and candy and I didn’t think that was a good idea at all. I understand that all medicines can’t taste like caster oil or we’d never get our children to take them (even so, I did have one child who was incredibly resistant to taking any kind of medicine anyway), but it makes it imperative that we parents stress and teach our children the difference between medicine and candy or other treats.

I haven’t actually read a report or know if there have been any studies done on whether or not all the candy-flavored vitamins and medicines make children more likely to try other drugs or ingest poisonous or potentially-dangerous chemicals—but I’ve definitely had some worries over whether “yummy” medicine is an influencing factor.

I’d be interested in reading such a study. And, I’d also be interested in finding out if I’m alone—or if there’s other parents out there who worry about kids getting confused about what is medicine and what is candy. What do you think?

See Also: Headaches and Kids