inhaler for a 7 yr old?

Specialties School


My 6 yr old (she will be 7 next month) came home from Dad's this weekend and she was wheezing. It scared me because I have never actually heard her wheeze before this even though she has been diagnosed with RAD since she was a baby (we do Albuterol or Xoponex breathing treatments at home or school with the nebulizer).

So, I thought I would talk to my pediatrician about her carrying an inhaler. I like the ease of the nebulizer, but I want something more portable for when she goes to her dads or grandma's. I will still talk to her Dr, but I would also like your opinions: is 7 a common age for kids to be "able" to use the inhaler? It does take a little co-ordination and some getting used to. Or, do you think it is too complicated for them (don't want to throw money away if she is not [developmentally] ready to use it).

What do you see in your schools? Thanks for sharing your experiences and/or advice,


Specializes in School Nursing.

I do have some 1st and 2nd graders who use inhalers. They do quite well with them, although I always observe their use of them carefully to insure they are doing it properly. Of course I think a 7 yr.old is too young to carry and inhaler with them at all times like some schools will do with older teens.

I also make sure the inhaler goes with the classroom teacher on all field trips, just in case. My advice would be to go have a talk with the school nurse and the teacher about it. You will feel much better about it and everyone will all be "on the same page" ! You would be suprised how many kids have asthma and the parents won't let anyone at the school know about it.....until something happens :crying2:

Good luck with your little girl :)


316 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

With proper instruction, I think a 7-year-old would do fine with an inhaler. I especially like the type that have the spacer chamber. The special-needs kids I work with do much better with the spacer chamber attached.

I agree that she is not old enough to carry it without supervision. I just found out yesterday that one of my students was carrying one in his backpack and taking a puff now and then on the bus ride home! We put an end to that quick.


264 Posts

Specializes in MICU.

I would not let her carry the inhaler. At school we have an order from the Dr and and extra mouthpiece for the nebulizer (school has a nebulizer there - we just leave an extra mouthpiece in the nurse's office). She has individual doses of Xoponex for treatments at school.

The inhaler would be for dad or grandma's house (adult to give her the inhaler to use). I just want something easier to carry than the nebulizer. Personally, I don't think a 7 yr old should be medicating themselves (whether it is Tylenol or breathing treatments) -- but maybe that is just me --- a little on the overprotective side.

Thanks for the info,



103 Posts

There are many different kinds of spacers and you'll probably find one that works for your daughter. I find most young kids have trouble with a plain inhaler and no spacer. I also think that you get better results with a nebulizer. There are small, battery operated, portable nebulizers out there that really work well if it's the portability you are looking for.

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