Kids and medicines

Giving medicines to children safely and effectively

Read the medicine labels and packaging
Do this when you are buying a medicine and each time before giving a medicine to a child. The labels and packaging provide important information that will help you to prevent medicine mistakes. Read more >

Know the child's weight
Calculating the correct dose for a child usually requires their weight. Read more >

Measure liquid medicines accurately
Using an oral syringe or device that comes with the medicine ensures you're measuring the correct dose. Read more >

Keep track of the medicines given
Recording important information about the medicines given to a child can help to prevent dosing errors. Read more >

Ask questions if you're ever unsure about anything
Learn the Top 5 medicinewise questions to ask when measuring and giving medicines to children. Read more questions >

Top 5 medicinewise questions when measuring and giving a child’s dose of medicine

  • What is the active ingredient in the medicine?
  • Have I calculated the right dose based on the child’s weight and strength of the medicine?
  • What is the safest and most appropriate device for measuring the child’s dose?
  • How do I measure and give the dose accurately?
  • Have I recorded what, when and how much medicine was given?

Video: Children’s dosing on The Morning Show

Danielle Stowasser from NPS MedicineWise discusses correct dosing of medicine for children with Dr Ginni Mansberg.

Kids & medicines FAQs

What if I’m unsure about which medicine to give?

Check with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. If you are unable to contact a doctor or pharmacist, you can call Medicines Line for information on 1300 633 424 (1300 MEDICINE) from anywhere in Australia. This service is available Monday to Friday 9am-5pm EST except NSW public holidays. Calls to Medicines Line will initially be answered by a healthdirect Australia registered nurse.

Note this is not an emergency service and does not replace advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

What should I do if I think I’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. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning, as urgent medical attention may be required.

How do I make my home medicinewise for kids?

5 things to have in a medicinewise home are:

  1. A high shelf (at least 1.5m or 4’11” above floor level) to store medicines out of reach and sight of children (preferably in a child-proof cupboard). Simply putting them in a high place where they can be seen isn’t enough.
  2. Scales to regularly weigh your child — digital bathroom scales are fine.
  3. An oral syringe for accurately measuring medicines, or the device that comes with the medicine (e.g. a dropper). Check the markings on the oral syringe to make sure it can measure the right dose.
  4. A written record of all the child’s medicines — including prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Take it with you when you visit the doctor, pharmacist or nurse, when you go on holidays or when a child goes to hospital.
  5. A list of emergency contact numbers in case you think you’ve given too much medicine — include your doctor and the Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26).