Children’s Tylenol with Flavor Creator: Drug or Candy?

This is just so disturbing on a number of levels: McNeil Consumer Healthcare has released a new version of its popular Children’s Tylenol pain reliever that includes a set of flavor packets that let children produce the flavor they’d prefer for the medicine. One Web site reports that the package includes “a bag full of tiny packets filled with powdered “crystals” representing four different flavors: Strawberry, green apple, bubble gum and chocolate.”

children's tylenol flavor creator box packagingOn one level, it’s not a bad idea since most medicine tends to either taste yechy or is cloyingly sweet and syrupy, but what bothers me is that any time you make medicine seem more like candy, surprise, children think that it is candy.

This is the problem we have with our children and cough drops: all of them are only partially convinced when we say “they’re medicine, not candy”, and the baby is sure we’re lying because they’re so yummy.

Have you looked at cough drops recently? Sure enough, they’re now packaged and flavored as if they were hard candy, not medicine. I’m not talking about the menthol and eucalyptus flavors that us big folk might prefer when we’re feeling a bit under the weather, but flavors like orange, black cherry, cherry, and “tropical fruit”.

Heck, Hall’s popular line of cough drops includes mint, ginger-grapefruit, strawberry, blueberry and even their “Fruitables” line that they proudly describe as “liquid-centre soothing candies with real fruit juice”. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Maybe I’m just grumbly tonight, but I just think this trend of making medicine seem more and more pleasant, to have medicines that integrate invisibly into our daily foodstuffs, is a real danger and threat, particularly to children, more than anything.

Even adults can find themselves tossing an “extra strong spearmint” cough drop rather than an Altoid or even a quick brushing of their teeth. Over time, medicines end up less effective too, yet another problem.

I can easily imagine a sick child gets to use the flavor packets with the new Children’s Tylenol and thinking “hey, cool”. Next time Mom’s busy, the flavor packets get pulled out of the medicine cabinet, probably with the Tylenol itself, and next thing you know, your child’s drunk the entire bottle as part of some gastronomic experiment.

Children’s Tylenol with Flavor Creator Packets isn’t widely distributed, but you can buy it from Drugstore.com for $9.49 per unit, if you’re curious. But would you buy this for your children?

7 comments on “Children’s Tylenol with Flavor Creator: Drug or Candy?

  1. No, I think that is taking it just too far. All three of my children are HORRIBLE medicine-takers, so, if anyone ‘should’ want it, a parent like myself would be the one. But you’re so right. That is just taking it too far!
    I always believed it to be such a nightmare with my own children being so stubborn about taking medicine, but, my nephew is all too eager to take medicine – and it scares me!

  2. I totally agree. When I was about five I snuck into the closet and got into the feenamint gum. Feenamint was kind of like a chiclet that you chewed for constipation. You were supposed to chew only one – I probably took six or so. No major damage but I did spend a lot of time in the bathroom that day. It certainly could have ended worse. As a parent that lesson is very instructive to me on how important it is to keep medicine somewhere the kids don’t have access.

  3. i think its a great idea that you can choose what flavor that you would like to take…more chocies a better way to to feel better.

  4. I THINK IS A VERY GOOD IDEA BEEN ABLE TO CHOOSE A PLEASENT FLAVOR FOR KIDS MEDICINE. NOW WALGREENS PUT FLAVORS ON THEIR MEDICINES FOR $3.00. I PREFER THAT MY DAUTHER GET THE RIGHT DOSE OF MEDICINE AND FEEL BETER FASTER THAN HAVING HER SPIT IT OUT AND NOT KNOWING HOW MUCH SHE DRINK IF ANY. THEY ARE FEELING BAD ALREADY, THEY DON’T NEED THEIR MEDICINE TO TASTE BAD TOO.

  5. I was thinking of buying this and throwing away the flavor crystals. Don’t you think the plain suspension would have less dye and flavor than the regular type?

  6. What in the world is wrong with you people? You are badgering the idea to incorporate flavors to medicine. Should we then also remove any type of toys from the marketplace that include steering wheels, because that may send a message to children that driving an automobile is not a serious and responsible privilege. And how about toy guns and/or swords, would this take dangerous weapons and give kids the impression that it’s no big deal. It sure sounds to me that parents who are doing what I call “over-parenting” are doing more harm to their kids than any kind of justice. So what if it tastes like candy, it is still the parents resposibility to keep anything that is around the house under their control, not their children’s. Parents these days would prefer to bubble wrap the entire world for their children so that they can avoid their role of actually “parenting”. I wonder what medicines parents who oppose these remarkable flavor crystals are serving their children now. The medicine already on the shelves are for the most part already flavored. Take cloraseptic spray that has been around for at least 20 years, this is a cherry flavored medicine, but most certainly does not taste like candy. These flavor crystals are even sugar free. I have already spoken with Tylenol in regards to re-instating flavor creator in their lineup, since apparently you people think that these are evil people, and yet I bet my bottom dollar that you are still serving flavored products to your children. On the same note, in regards to vegetables, should we never consider placing cheese on your greens simply because it no longer tastes like greens – it’s better! How many of the parents that are oppossed to this idea also use a feaking leash (harness) on their children. Come on folks, our children are still people, not our damn pets.

  7. Travis, I gotta say that any time I see a comment that includes the phrase “you people” I just know it’s going to be hostile and judgmental, and yours was. Y’know, if you went back and read my original article you might find that I wasn’t advocating medicines tasting yechy (I have three kids, I know how hard it is to get them to have medicine if it tastes bad) but rather that I think Tylenol had gone too far in the other direction with its “candy factory” flavor creator idea.
    But it appears to me that your mind is already closed to new ideas and different perspectives, so I’ll just wish you well, wish good luck to your children, and let you go on your way…

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