Liquid medications usually come with their own cup, spoon, or syringe to ensure you give your child the correct amount. "Always use the dosing device that comes with the medication," says Dr. Tolcher. "These are more accurate than a kitchen spoon, which can vary in size and make dosing inconsistent and inaccurate." If you lose these measuring instruments, you can always use one from a different medication or pick up a replacement at the pharmacy. (Just make sure the new one is marked with the units you need -- milliliters, teaspoons, or both, for example.)
Dosage cups For kids old enough to drink from a cup without spilling, these cups have numbers on the side to help you pour the right amount. Measure by placing the cup at eye level on a flat surface.
Dosing spoons They're like test tubes with spoons at the end and work best for kids who can drink out of a cup, but they're more likely to spill. Measure at eye level, then have your child sip from the spoon.
Droppers These are for infants and young children who can't drink from a cup. After you measure at eye level, give the dropper to your child quickly because it may drip.
Syringes They allow you to squirt medicine into the back of a baby's or young child's mouth, where it's less likely to spill out. Some syringes come with a cap to prevent medicine from leaking. These caps are a choking hazard, so be sure to remove them before putting the syringe in your child's mouth. Research shows that parents measure most accurately with syringes versus cups. So when exact dosing really matters, first measure with a syringe and then place the medicine in a cup, if that's what the child prefers.