Medicine dosing for children needs extra care

14 June 2011

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The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products today urged parents and carers to take extra care when measuring and medicating children for fever, coughs and colds in order to deliver the correct dose.

ASMI was responding to media reports on comments from the NSW Poisons Information Centre about parents incorrectly calculating the appropriate dosing of medication for children, particularly in regard to paracetamol.

ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Steven Scarff said it was important for parents and carers to carefully read the instructions on the pack before taking a medication or giving a medication to a child.

It is important that the right dose is calculated for the child, based on weight, and that it is measured correctly.

"Different medications may be used at different doses so it is important for parents to check the dosing guidelines on the pack of each medication before it is used," Mr Scarff said.

"Because the dose for many of these medications is based on the weight of the child, it is important to refer to the pack to ensure that the dosing is correct each time it is used. As a child grows, the dosing will also change so it is important to check the dosing guidelines every time a medication is used," he said.

"If parents are at all concerned about how much to give, or how to give, the medicine they have chosen for their children, they should consult their pharmacist or a doctor for advice."

Paracetamol has been available for more than 50 years and the vast majority of adults and children experience no undesirable effects, when used as directed. It is an effective and safe option for the treatment of pain and fever.
About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy.

Media contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications (02) 9241 2811