Read the labels and packaging

The following important information is always printed on the medicine's packaging or label. Read it carefully when you are buying a medicine and before giving a medicine to a child each time.

Active ingredient

This is the chemical in the medicine that makes it work. Knowing the active ingredient(s) can help to prevent accidentally double dosing with another medicine that contains the same active ingredient(s).

Also, some medical conditions, allergies and other medicines may affect which medicine is most suitable to give a child.

A drawing of the packaging of a medicine for children

Always read the information printed on medicine packaging and labels.

Strength

Medicines are available in a number of different strengths, so it's important that you always check the strength to ensure you're giving the right dose.

The strength of liquid medicines is usually expressed as mg/mL: the amount of active ingredient in milligrams (mg) per milliliter (mL) of liquid.

Strengths are expressed differently for other formulations, such as mg per tablet or mg per suppository.

It's important to choose a strength that's suitable for the child's age. Do not give adult strengths of medicines to young children.

Formulation

Children's medicines come in different forms.

The main forms of medicine for babies and young children are drops, suspensions and elixirs. Some medicines are available in other forms that are suitable for children, such as soluble or chewable tablets and suppositories.

Check the formulation of the medicine to ensure it is suitable for the child and that you administer it the correct way.

Dosing instructions

Always follow instructions on the label or packaging to ensure that you give the correct dose. Don't exceed the recommended daily dose or frequency of dosing. The dose of a medicine for a young child usually depends on their weight. Use the weight of the child and dosing instructions on the medicine's packaging to calculate how much medicine to give.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if you're unsure about the information on the label or packaging or where to find it.

Pictures of medicines on this page are fictitious products and all directions on the packaging are as example only. Dosing amounts vary between medicines and will not be the same for any pain relief medicine you have at home.

These products are not intended to imply TGA approval and are purely for educational purposes regarding medicines use for pain relief.