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Medications you should not give your children

By Neil Ginsberg 1 min read

Q: Are there certain medicines my children should avoid?

A few key rules apply: see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis, never use leftover medications or give a child something prescribed for an adult. Always read the instructions for weight, size, dose, how and when to dispense, date of expiry and potential interactions with other medications.

Specifically, aspirin should never be given to children, especially during viral illnesses, as it can cause a potentially life-threatening disease. Over-the-counter cold and cough medications have little therapeutic value in children, and are definitely not recommended for children under six. Paracetamol and ibuprofen should be used cautiously, however medical review is recommended if there is any deterioration. Antibiotics should only be used on your doctor’s advice.

Equally importantly is monitoring for possible adverse reactions such as rashes, hives, wheezing or difficulty breathing. Please also ensure safe storage and disposal of any unused medications.


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Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

Neil Ginsberg is a paediatrician with the Sydney Adventist Hospital.