Pharmacists warn parents of health risks when giving medicines to children

Pharmacists have urged parents to be extremely careful when giving medicines to children and to always seek the advice of a pharmacist before giving a child any medication.

The correct dose of medicine can vary depending on a child’s age, weight, and symptoms. As children grow, dosages can also change. Medicines meant for an adult should never be given to a child.

Ann Marie Horan, a member of the IPU’s executive committee and a community pharmacist, said: “When a child is sick, it is natural that parents want to make them feel better. Occasionally parents can unintentionally give young children too much medicine, especially when they are administering medicine regularly.

“Medicine dosages for children should be adjusted according to the age and weight of the child, particularly when it comes to common pain relieving medicines. Too little medication can be ineffective, while too much medication can be harmful. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you on the correct dosage for your child and I would encourage all parents to check with us — that’s what we’re here for.”

The following advice is a guideline for parents when giving medicine to a child:

Always follow the recommendations on the information leaflet provided with the medication.

Give the correct dose - it must be suitable for the child’s age and weight.

Follow the directions on when the medicine is to be taken.

Use the proper sized spoon and never guess the dose.

Follow age and weight limit recommendations.

Ensure the child takes all of the medicine each time it is given.

Keep a record of how much you have given and when.

Do not chill or crush medicine without checking it is OK to do so with your pharmacist.

Never mix medicines without first checking with a pharmacist that it is safe to do so.

Do not give aspirin to children younger than 16, unless it is prescribed by a doctor.

Store medicines in a cool, dry, place.

Keep all medicines well out of the reach of children.

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