Can I Give My Child Painkillers?

Cough Medicine and KidsBoth paracetamol (known as acetaminophen or Tylenol in the US*) and ibuprofen are safe and effective painkillers for children. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct dose. If you’re not sure, get advice from your pharmacist, GP (pediatrician*) or health visitor.

Medicines aren’t always needed for childhood illnesses. Most illnesses get better by themselves, and make your child stronger and able to resist similar illnesses in the future.

Always keep medicines stored in a safe place at home.

Paracetamol for Children

Paracetamol (acetaminophen*) can be given to children aged over two months to relieve pain and reduce fever (high temperature). Make sure you’ve got the right strength for your child. Overdosing is dangerous. Check with your pharmacist when you buy it and read the label carefully.

Ibuprofen for Children

Ibuprofen can be given to relieve pain and reduce fever in children aged three months and over who weigh more than 5kg (11lbs). Check the correct dose for your child’s age. Avoid ibuprofen if your child has asthma, unless advised by your GP (pediatrician*).

Don’t use Aspirin

Never give aspirin to children under 16 unless it’s specifically prescribed by a doctor. It has been linked with a rare but dangerous illness called Reye’s syndrome.

Giving your Child Paracetamol or Ibuprofen

Liquid paracetamol (acetaminophen*) and ibuprofen are available for babies and younger children. Older children may be able to swallow paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets with plenty of water.

Soluble paracetamol tablets that dissolve in water are also available. You can get ibuprofen powder that dissolves in water, but this is only suitable for children over 12.

It is important to:

  • Make sure you know how much medicine to give your child and how often to give it
  • Always follow the instructions on the label to make sure you give your child the correct dose for their age and weight
  • Never give the medicine more often than your GP (pediatrician*) or pharmacist recommends, and don’t take any more than the stated dose

Remember to keep all medicines out of the reach of children and out of their sight, if possible.

For more information, including when to get medical advice, see:

Read the answers to more questions about children’s medicines.

Further information:

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US audience.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 08-10-2015 to 08-16-2015

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
If Your Child’s Instagram Selfies Aren’t Private, This Site Might Sell Them To Total Strangers

Back to School Dental Check-Ups

back to school child dental xraysIt’s that time of year again! The summer weeks are quickly winding down and school days will soon be upon us. Right now, you’re probably in the midst of helping your child get all of those back-to-school necessities in order. In addition to gathering up school supplies and scheduling physical exams, have you remembered to schedule their back-to-school dental checkup?

Routine dental appointments are imperative to helping your child maintain a healthy smile, both now and in the years to come. Scheduling an appointment for your child right before he or she goes back to school is typically the most ideal time for parents and children alike. This way, you can avoid having to take your child out of school for the appointment, and can check one more item off of your list of things to accomplish before they are back in the classroom again.

It is suggested that your child begins seeing the dentist by the time their first baby teeth start to grow in, and then schedule a regular checkup every 6 months following. This preventative care is key to ensuring your child’s teeth are developing properly and are in healthy condition. Preventative care is also much easier and much less expensive than what it takes to correct any issues that could arise without regular dental care. Some of these issues can include cavities and decay, which can cause pain and a lot of damage if not treated right away. Poor tooth development can also lead to problems down the road, and might mean the need for extensive orthodontic treatment.

During a regular dental checkup, the dental hygienist will clean, polish, and floss your child’s teeth to remove any food particles, bacteria, and plaque build-up. The hygienist will also take x-rays of your child’s teeth to get a closer look at the teeth’s development and to help spot any decay that might not be visible to the naked eye. The dentist will then examine your child’s teeth and study the x-rays to make sure there isn’t anything abnormal. Fluoride is applied at the end of the appointment, which helps protect the teeth from bacteria. Dental sealants, a plastic coating that is brushed on to the chewing surfaces of the molars, can also be applied to your child’s teeth. Sealants are highly recommended as another protective measure against harmful bacteria.

If any issues do come up in your child’s appointment, your dentist will explain the problem and discuss the proper steps to take in regards to your child’s treatment. If there is a cavity, treatment will likely include the need for a filling, or possibly a dental crown if the decay has taken over a larger portion of the tooth. If your dentist notices that your child’s teeth and jaw aren’t quite developing as they should, a visit to the orthodontist might be suggested for further evaluation. Your dentist might also have some orthodontic training and can provide the necessary treatment options for your child.

A back-to-school checkup is essential for your child to have a healthy start to the school year. Don’t forget the importance of at-home dental care, too. Help your child maintain those pearly whites by brushing and flossing each and every day until it’s time for their next checkup. Their health and their smile will be better off because of the care that is given to their teeth today.

How Can I Keep My Baby Safe During Hot Weather?

Mom and baby in poolBabies and young children can become ill during very hot weather. Their health can be seriously affected by:

Try these summer safety tips for keeping your child happy and healthy in the heat.

Sun Safety

Keep your baby cool and protect them from the sun.

  • Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour and provides some protection from the sun.
  • Older infants should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer and between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you go out when it’s hot, attach a parasol or sunshade to your baby’s pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to your baby’s skin. Make sure the product also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Many brands produce sunscreen specifically for babies and young children as these products are less likely to contain additives that might irritate the skin. Apply the suncream regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or paddling pool.
  • Make sure your child wears a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back, to protect their head and neck from the sun.

Avoid Dehydration

Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.

  • If you’re breastfeeding your baby, you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk. However, they may want to breastfeed more than usual.
  • If you’re bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day. If your baby wakes at night, they’ll probably want milk. If they’ve had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well.

You can be creative when trying to keep your child hydrated. If they’re over six months old and they get bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day. For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.

Keeping Cool

Follow the tips below to help keep your children cool and safe during hot weather.

  • Playing in a paddling pool is a good way of keeping babies and children cool. Keep the pool in the shade during very hot weather and supervise the children carefully at all times.
  • Run them a cool bath before bedtime.
  • Keep your child’s bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains. You can also use a fan to circulate the air in the room.
  • Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum. If your baby kicks or pushes off the covers during the night, consider putting them in just a nappy with a single well-secured sheet that won’t work loose and cover their face or get entangled during the night.
  • A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby’s room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C (61F) and 20C (68F).

Further information:

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 08-03-2015 to 08-09-2015

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Who establishes your child’s digital identity?
The avg parents will post almost 1000 pix before their child is five

Summer Hazards Part II – They Bite and They Sting

Summer Hazards Part I – Watch Out for the Sun focused on counteracting the effects of the sun: remaining well hydrated during the time of the year when fluid loss through activities can cause significant problems and minimizing the potential harm that can be caused by direct exposure to the sun. Part II focuses more on the pests that come around in the summer months – the insects, spiders and snakes – and the problems that often come along for the ride.

Insect bites: Most insect bites are benign unless one is allergic to that particular insect. Unfortunately it is not possible to tell who is allergic prior to the first episode of reaction, however, most reactions are of a minor nature, e.g.: hives, general itchiness and red itchy eyes. These can easily be treated with an antihistamine by mouth such as Benadryl and cold compresses to the skin or the eyes. Of course the more serious reactions (usually due to vespids- bees, wasps and hornets) can be fatal but fortunately they are rare, and usually do not occur with the first reaction. If you are one of the unfortunate few who are known to have serious reactions you will carry with you medicines that can significantly change the outcome of the reaction, e.g.: epipen or epipen jr. which is a form of epinephrine injected just under the skin for maximum (what can be life saving) effect.

Other insects known to produce reactions or painful side effects include spiders and small insects such as ants. There are certain species of ants, such as fire ants, that are responsible for painful bite that usually occurs after someone has stepped on a nest. Cold water or ice on the area along with such antihistamines as Benadryl, will help the stinging sensation. Certain large black ants can also bite but are usually not found in this country.

Only 2 spiders in this country should be avoided: Black widow, notable for an hour glass orange imprint on the abdomen, is responsible for a very painful bite that can cause muscle spasm notably in the abdomen- usually not deadly but very painful. The other spider of note is the brown recluse spider which although looking very benign to the naked eye yields a very painful and tissue destroying toxin that can cause problems over the next several weeks. Ideally, the best treatment is avoidance as is true of everything discussed prior to this point.

Snake bites also tend to occur when a human being inadvertently steps on or disturbs the animal. Although most snake bites are non venomous in this country all bites can be painful and if you plan to spend any prolonged time outdoors (camping etc.) it would be well worth your while to study up on types of snakes and animals indigenous to the area and be prepared for a plan of action if an incident occurs. In general, an imprint consisting of two rows of teeth are usually from a non venomous snake while 2 prominent puncture wounds are produced by a fanged snake usually producing a toxin of some kind. These bites tend to be very painful from the onset and only get worse with time. Other side effects can be very nasty and at times life-threatening. This person needs medical attention as promptly as possible.