Tips for giving medicine to kids safely

giving medicine to kids safely

Giving medicine to kids safely can be a struggle – they might squirm, spit it out or simply refuse to take it. To help stressed-out mums, NPS MedicineWise and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network have teamed up to create a set of three short videos packed full of tips for giving medicine. 

NPS MedicineWise spokesperson and pharmacist Sarah Spagnardi, says it’s common for medicine misadventure to be to be a cause of poisoning in little ones.

“The team here at NPS MedicineWise had been noticing a lot of social media posts from parents asking questions about how to safely give medicine to children, especially if they squirm and refuse to take it,” said Ms Spagnardi.

“Whether you need to give your child medicines for a winter cold, an earache, for teething or for any other health condition, there is a lot of questionable ‘advice’ out there. To combat this we teamed up with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network to produce these one-minute videos that address the most-asked questions.

“Among questions such as how much of the medicine to give, how to encourage the child to take the medicine, and where to safely store it, we also have also heard questions like ‘Can I mix this medicine with juice or yogurt’ and ‘Can I bake it into a cupcake?’.

“Busy parents and carers need good, evidence-based advice – and they need it fast, so these three quick videos feature practical tips from a nurse, a child life therapist and a pharmacist to help parents and carers keep their children safe and healthy,” she said.

Watch the videos

Rachel Chappell, founder and publisher of the North Shore Mums Facebook group, says the videos are informative and easy to watch.

“Oh, how I wish I’d seen these videos in my early days of motherhood, when I was struggling to give medicine to my sick baby. It was such a challenge! These quick videos are packed full of useful tips and tricks, and easy to watch (even when you’re multitasking, as us mums often do),” she said.

10 Top Tips for giving medicine to kids

  1. Make the child feel in control by giving them a choice, for example “Would you like to sit on the couch, or on my lap?”
  2. Pop little kids on your lap and give them a nice firm cuddle holding their arms
  3. Incentives can help – stickers, stamps, small toy
  4. Distraction! Give them an iPad or read them a story
  5. Make it part of the normal routine – we’re going to have dinner, then your medicine, then a bath.
  6. Be calm. Children feed off your stresses, so if you look stressed, so will the child
  7. When using a syringe to give medicine, put it in the side of the mouth towards the back teeth, and use small squirts
  8. Don’t mix medicines with other substances like milk, juice or yoghurt or bake them in the cupcake.
  9. Keep track of the medicines you’re using in a diary, log or the MedicineWise app.
  10. Dose your child according to age and weight – know your child’s current body weight, and always ask a health professional if you’re unsure of the correct dose

Want more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines from a health professional?

Call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more).

Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


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