Measure liquid medicines accurately

'Don't' symbol: Don't use a kitchen spoon to measure the right dose of medicine.

Use an oral syringe to accurately measure and give the right dose. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon — this is not an accurate way to measure the right dose.

Oral syringes are available in different sizes, ranging from 0.5 mL to over 20 mL. Before buying or using an oral syringe, check the markings to make sure it can measure the right dose.

If the medicine doesn’t come with an oral syringe, or you don’t have one, ask for one at the pharmacy. You can also use the device that comes with the medicine — such as a dropper or medicine cup — if it has one.

5 steps for measuring the right dose of medicine using an oral syringe

Drawing: 1.Shake the bottle, if necessary, and set it on a hard surface. 1. Shake the bottle, if necessary, and set it on a hard surface.
Drawing: 2. Insert the syringe into the bottle. 2. Insert the syringe into the bottle.
Drawing: 3. Draw up the liquid by pulling the plunger upwards, as described. 3. Draw up the liquid by pulling the plunger upwards, until the bottom of the rubber stopper (not the top) reaches the right quantity.
Drawing: 4. Check the dose by inverting the syringe and following the instructions. 4. Check the dose by inverting the syringe (holding it upside down) at eye level. If there are air bubbles, flick the syringe so the bubbles reach the top and then press the plunger to push them out. Once all the air bubbles have gone recheck that the bottom of the rubber stopper is at the right quantity. Repeat from step 2 if necessary.
Drawing: 5. Place the syringe in the side of the child’s cheek and push the plunger. 5. Place the syringe in the side of the child’s cheek and push the plunger until all of the liquid has been given.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure about how to measure medicines accurately.

Print out our Measuring liquid medicines for children fact sheet, and the Know your child's weight card.