Children are not just small adults. When it comes to medication, they require a completely different approach, and should be treated with extra care.

A lot of childhood illnesses don’t require medication at all, and it’s actually better for children to recover by themselves, if they can. Allowing a child to recover naturally helps them build a stronger immune system and increases their chances of fighting the illness the next time. However, on some occasions, it will be necessary to give your child medication to help them get better. We know that giving medicine to your child can be a daunting prospect, so we’ve prepared some top advice on what safe medicines for children are available and how to administer them correctly. 

 

Top Advice for Giving Children Medication

 

There are some important tips to keep in mind when giving medicine to your child:

  1. Only give your child medicines prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist, especially in children two years old or younger. Make sure the medicines are made for children.
  2. Keep all medicines out of reach and in their original and child-safe labeled containers.
  3. Keep a list of the medicines your child is taking, and share it with anyone that has responsibility for your child at any time – grandparent, teacher, babysitters etc.
  4. Be sure that you know exactly the dosage your child should take, and how often. Mistakes can be dangerous.
  5. If ever in any doubt, consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Let’s have a look at some of the more common medicines:

 

Paracetemol

 

Paracetemol can be given to a child over two months for pain and fever, as long as it’s the right strength. Always read the label and, if in doubt, ask your pharmacist. Overdose is a very real possibility, so take extra care when giving painkillers to your child.

 

Ibuprofen

 

Ibuprofen is an effective painkiller and fever medication in children over three months, weighing more than 5kgs. Check the correct dose for your child carefully, and avoid ibuprofen if your child suffers from asthma. Only use ibuprofen if you think absolutely necessary, and do so sparingly and as directed on the box.

 

Antibiotics

 

It is quite rare for children to need antibiotics, as viruses cause most infections in children. Make explicitly sure with your GP that antibiotics are necessary, and ask whether there are alternatives before starting your child on a course. Antibiotics can have side effects in children, such as drowsiness or irritation. If your child is prescribed antibiotics, make sure that they finish the whole course – the illness may return if you fail to do so.

If you are in any doubt about consult a GP at any of our listed Richmond surgeries. In the case of an overdose, or out-of hours queries, we have a list of out of hours services available in your area.