Viewpoint: Why a kiddie corner makes sense

February 6, 2006

It is a familiar scene in America's pharmacies—a parent carrying a sick child who is screaming his head off. To get them out of the pharmacy as quickly as possible, we zip into high gear and mix that amoxicillin up at a pace like no other. As a mother, I feel the pain of the parent and child. The reality is that many local pharmacies I have encountered are missing one crucial element, something so sought after by parents to give them peace of mind that you would think every pharmacy in the universe would be equipped with it. No, I'm not talking about a fully stocked liquor cabinet, but close! The answer is quite simple: a children's play area.

1. Increased sales

2. Highly productive pharmacy staff

When there is peace in the lobby, there also is peace and harmony behind the pharmacy counter. When things are quiet, pharmacists are better able to concentrate, thus reducing the likelihood of errors. It truly makes us happy to know our customers are happy.

3. Quality counseling sessions

With the children occupied, the pharmacist has more time to actually counsel the parents. It is hard to tell a mother to shake well and refrigerate while she is chasing her two-year-old down the card aisle! As we know, the more able we are to counsel, the less likely we are to make mistakes and the more likely we are to find out other pertinent information regarding drug safety.

The implementation of a kiddie corner is quite simple. There are some basic principles you should follow:

1. No noises. There are plenty of toys that are very amusing and perfectly silent. If I ever have to hear another fish singing "Take me to the river," you better just throw me in it!

2. Safety first. All toys should be child-friendly and not pose any choking hazards or risk for harm to another child.

3. Must be sanitary. The toys should be able to be easily cleaned with antibacterial solutions.

4. Proper location. A corner location is ideal. Baby gates might even be helpful to keep the corner set off and the children in. I am fully aware of the high cost of space, but only a small area is needed.

Using the principles applied above, you can have on hand a variety of appropriate toys. A must-have is a small table and chair set. Other recommended items include puzzles with large pieces, bead mazes, plastic blocks, board books, board games, such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. Depending on how large or small your pharmacy waiting area is, the possibilities are really endless!

How much space is needed to set up a kiddie corner? At a minimum, the space should be large enough to accommodate a small table and chair set-not a huge amount of real estate.