Know the child’s weight

Young children’s bodies are small, so even small dosing errors can cause them harm. Giving the right dose (or amount) of a medicine based on a child’s weight is important so that they receive the safest and most effective dose.

Weigh children regularly and keep a record

Use the weight of the child and the dosing instructions on the medicine’s packaging to calculate how much medicine to give. Never guess the amount of medicine to give a child or try to figure it out from adult dosing instructions.

To weigh a child accurately you will need a set of scales, ideally digital scales that measure in kilograms, placed on a hard surface. If you don’t have scales at home, your pharmacist, health clinic or doctor can help.

An easy way to weigh a child

  1. Weigh yourself and write down your weight.
  2. Hold the child and weigh yourself again. Write down your combined weight.
  3. Subtract the first weight from the second to get the child’s weight.

If a child is particularly large or small for their age, check the dose with a pharmacist or doctor before giving it.

Record the information on our Know your child's weight card, which also gives you handy tips about measuring liquid medicines accurately.