- Incorrect Dose can be harmful to a child
- Combining medicines can lead to accidental overdose
25 March 2015: Pharmacists today highlighted the need for parents to be extremely careful when giving medicines to children and to always seek the advice of their pharmacist first before giving a child any medication. Pharmacists are warning parents to pay particular attention to how much medicine is being given to a child as the correct dose can vary depending on a child's age, weight and symptoms. Medicines meant for an adult should never be given to a child.
Pharmacists are also advising that cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 6 years of age as there is no strong evidence that they work effectively in children this age and can result in side effects such as allergic reactions or drowsiness. Children aged 6 to 12 years can be given cough and cold medicines with care but the maximum daily dose must not be exceeded and no other cough or cold medicine should be taken at the same time.
Bernard Duggan, Pharmacist and Honorary Treasurer of the IPU, said, "Naturally parents want to make their child better and occasionally parents can unintentionally give young children too much medicine. This is especially likely for liquid medicines such as liquid antibiotics, pain relievers or cough syrup. Medicine dosages for children should be adjusted according to the age and weight of the child. Too little medication can be ineffective, while too much medication can be harmful. Also, different medications have different concentrations of ingredients so doses can vary as a result and sometimes different medicines can actually have the same ingredient. The best approach is to ask your pharmacist first for advice – that's what we're here for."