Prevent harm when administering medicines to children by following these important tips:
- Read the medicine labels and packaging every time before giving medicine to a child.
- Know the active ingredient(s) as this can help to prevent accidentally double dosing with another medicine that contains the same active ingredient(s).
- If your child has allergies or other medical conditions, always check with your doctor or pharmacist that the medicine is suitable.
- Always check the strength of the medicine to ensure you’re giving the right dose. Many medicines come in different strengths and it’s important to choose a strength that’s suitable for the child’s age.
- Know your child’s weight. Giving the right dose of a medicine based on a child’s weight is important so that they receive the safest and most effective dose – remember young children’s bodies are small, so even small dosing errors can cause them harm.
- Always follow instructions on the label or packaging to ensure that you give the correct dose and be careful not to exceed the recommended daily dose or frequency of dosing.
- Measure liquid medicines accurately. Use an oral syringe or measuring device that comes with the medicine, not a kitchen teaspoon, to ensure you’re measuring the correct dose.
- Keep track of the medicines given. This can help prevent dosing errors, particularly when more than one person cares for the child. The National Prescribing Service has a Medicines List available in a paper and online version as well as a smartphone app to help with record keeping.
- If you think you’ve given too much medicine, immediately phone a doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26) for advice, or go to the accident and emergency department at your nearest hospital, even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.
- Keep all medicines out of reach and sight, preferably in a locked cupboard. Medicines are the leading cause of child poisoning and most cases of emergency department visits for medicine poisoning are the result of a child consuming medicines belonging to a parent or grandparent.
For more information speak with your GP or:
- Poisons Information Line: call 13 11 26
- Medicines Line: call 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm EST except NSW public holidays