How to use medicines
- Always read the label
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any possible side effects: e.g. drowsiness or irritability.
- If your child is already taking a medication (even a non-prescription one), ask your pharmacist if it’s okay to take both.
- Make sure you understand how much and how often to give the medicine, and follow the directions on the packet carefully.
- Write down the type of medicine and time you give your child medicine so there is no confusion.
- When you buy over-the-counter medicines at the pharmacy (e.g. pain reliever), always say it’s for a child, and tell the pharmacist the child’s age and weight.
- Always finish a course of medicine as directed, especially antibiotics, as the full course is required. (Although the child may seem better after a few days, the infection may not be fully cleared).
- If you suspect your child is reacting badly to the medicine (e.g. fever or rash) stop giving it to them and tell your doctor.
- Buy medicines with child-resistant packaging. If your child’s condition is getting worse, despite the medicine, stop use and see your doctor immediately.
Tips for safe use of medicines
- Paracetamol (such as Children's Panadol) and ibuprofen are suitable choices for temporary relief from pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16. Always read the label.
- Write down the names of all medications your child uses in a child health record, especially if you see more than one doctor.
- Always take in your child’s health record when you see a healthcare professional.
- Make a note if your child reacts badly to a medicine.
- Never give your child medicine prescribed for someone else or medicine intended for adults.
- Always follow the storage instructions on the pack.
- Always check the use by date of medicines kept at home. Dispose properly of those which are out of date.
- Keep all medicines locked away, out of sight and out of reach of children.