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KidzMedz Cymru

KidzMedz Cymru is designed to teach children and young people over the age of five how to safely swallow tablets and capsules. 

Tablets and capsules have numerous advantages over liquid medications. The programme aims to support children and young people to switch from liquid medication to pills or allow them to be prescribed pills as soon as they start treatment.

KidzMedz Cymru follows successful programmes rolled out in parts of England and Scotland and aims to reduce the use of prescribed liquid medications by 40% over the next 12 months.

Pills have numerous advantages over liquid medicine for patients, their carers and healthcare professionals, including:

  • For children and young people, pills are less sickly and contain less sugar. Children who swallow pills also tend to have better adherence to their medication regimes
  • For carers, pills have a longer shelf-life, do not require a fridge for storage, are easier to transport and are more readily available in local pharmacies
  • Prescribers are less prone to errors when writing prescriptions and can prescribe larger quantities
  • For pharmacists, pills are more commonly stocked in local pharmacies compared to liquids

Children and young people will be taught how to safely swallow pills using an evidence-based six-step technique. They will start off by choosing a drink of their choice — either water or sugar-free fruit juice — and will gradually work through a series of different-sized sweets.

Once they complete the programme and can safely and confidently swallow tablets or capsules, they will receive an education kit containing a pill packet, water bottle and certificate. Parents and carers will also receive an information leaflet.

The scheme was first developed at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle in 2020 and has won the NHS Sustainability Award, the HSJ Value Award for Pharmacy and Optimisation and the Bright Ideas in Health Award for Demonstrating an Impact upon Quality Improvement.

Pill swallowing: A how to guide for parents and carers

Top tips 

  • Be firm and consistent but avoid punishments and threats.
  • Give positive reinforcement! It really helps them to see how pleased you are that they have taken their medicine
  • Make pill-taking part of their daily routine i.e. breakfast, pills, brushing teeth.
  • Try to administer their medication at the same time each day where possible.
  • Avoid thick liquids • Give the child control by letting them choose which medication to take first.
  • Try not to bargain or bribe.
  • Use food to help reduce bad tastes (follow the swallow with a spoonful of yoghurt or jelly).
  • Avoid tricking the child with food (don’t hide the tablet!).
  • Make the process fun!

If your child refuses…

  • Never ask your child if they want to take their medication. This is not optional.
  • Be firm when it’s time to take their medicine (no other activities).
  • Have a matter-of-fact attitude. You expect them to take their medication the same as you expect them to wear a coat outside.
  • Remain calm.
  • Stay in the room with the child. They can leave and do another activity or play only when they have taken their medication.
  • Speak to your medical team if your child is not taking their medication.

For any questions about the programme, please email

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