Be medicinewise on the playground

30 January 2012

As children across Australia pack their bags for their first day of school, NPS is encouraging parents to be medicinewise when planning their child’s back-to-school medicines routine.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says the ‘first day jitters’ are often heightened for parents whose children have a health condition or require regular medicines.

“The first day at school or child care is often the first time parents have to relinquish control of their child’s medicine routine to an unfamiliar carer,” says Dr Stowasser.

“This can be fairly nerve-wracking, but luckily there are some medicinewise things you can do to make the transition easier for everyone involved.”

Researching, planning and communicating are three of the key steps to ensuring your child is able to safely and effectively take their medicines at school or child care.

“Before you enrol your child in a school or day care centre, check the staff are trained to handle your child’s condition and are able to give their medicines. Most places have written policies outlining the requirements and safety precautions necessary, but some may be better equipped than others to deal with particular situations,” says Dr Stowasser.

“Next, plan a medicines routine for staff by providing them with details of your child’s condition, the medicines they’ll need while at school, how these must be taken and any precautions to ensure they’re given safely. Your child’s doctor can work with you to develop a plan including details of what staff should do in case of an emergency.”

“Ensure you supply the required quantity of medicine and any equipment necessary to give it. Don’t forget to check the medicine is in date and stored correctly, for example in the fridge, so you can be sure medicines are given to your child safely and effectively.”

“Finally, make sure you communicate openly with everyone involved. This will help reduce the risk of medicine mistakes and help allay any fears or anxieties you, your child or their carers may have during this transition period.”

Back-to-school medicinewise tips

Do your research – check the staff are trained to handle their condition and have good policies in place to give medicines safely and effectively.

  1. Do your research – check the staff are trained to handle their condition and have good policies in place to give medicines safely and effectively.
  2. Make a plan for staff – your doctor can help you develop a plan for your child’s medicine routine while at school. Find out who will be responsible for your child’s medicines and ensure there are adequate facilities to store them safely.
  3. Communicate openly with everyone – this helps ensure your plan is followed, can ease the nerves of all involved and reduces the chance of medicine mistakes.

For more information on measuring and administering medicines to children visit or call Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 (1300 MEDICINE).


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.