Being medicinewise with children

Have you ever had to give a child or grandchild medicine – as a parent, grandparent or carer? During this Be MedicineWise Week (20–26 August) we’re being reminded of how to be medicinewise with children.

Giving a child medicine can be a daunting task, so it’s important to ensure the medicine is administered correctly and at the right dose, to be effective and to avoid accidental harm. If you must give children medicine, NPS MedicineWise offers this advice:

  • Always read the label and packaging and, if in doubt, ask. Children’s medicines come in different forms and strengths for different ages and body weights. If purchasing an over-the-counter medicine, check with the pharmacist if you haven’t used that medicine before, or have any concerns.
  • Dose according to age and weight. Over-the-counter children’s medicine labels often contain age and average weight dosage recommendations. Read the tables carefully. Don’t give more than the recommended dose for the child’s age. If the child is small or large for his or her age, ask for dosing guidance from your doctor or pharmacist. If you can’t weigh them on a bathroom scale, try stepping on the scale holding the child. Subtract your weight from the total for an accurate reading of the child’s weight.
  • Measure accurately. Accurate measurements for liquid medicines matter. A spoon does not provide an accurate measure. Use the dosing device provided in the package, such as a dropper, oral syringe or medicine cup.
  • Write it down. Keep a record of the child’s medicines to avoid exceeding the maximum daily dose and reduce the risk of double dosing. Also record the medicine name, active ingredient, time given and exact dose. The MedicineWise App is a handy tool to record medicines information.


For more information, go to, or call the Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm AEST (excluding NSW public holidays).

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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