Information for Family with Young Children
The following are suggested medications available
over-the-counter (OTC) in child formulations,
that you might want to consider keeping handy.
These fall into three categories, medications
for minor conditions that most children experience
at some time; problems that some children experience
from time to time; and relief from specific childhood
If in doubt about the suitability of an OTC
medicine for young children, ask your pharmacist.
If your child has suffered from any of the conditions
mentioned below you may want to consider keeping
a small supply of an appropriate self-medication
treatment at home.
Oral pain relief
Paracetamol or ibuprofen. Available in effervescent tablet, powder and liquid
form in child formulations. Suitable for a wide range of aches and pains.
They also have fever reducing (anti pyretic) effect. (Remember that children
under 16 must not be given aspirin except on medical advice).
Child formulations are available in liquid form to stop a cough (suppressants)
or loosen it (expectorants).
Other cold relief products
Decongestants for blocked noses are available
as sprays, drops, or in a form to rub on the
chest or apply to clothes. Combination remedies
containing pain relievers and decongestants are
available in various formulations.
Creams, solutions and ointments for treating minor cuts, grazes, burns and
insect burns. (Topical hydrocortisone is not recommended for children under
Treating problems experienced from time to
time by some children with OTC medications
Antihistamines are available in syrup form for young children. Suitable for
relief of hayfever and other allergies including skin conditions such as
hives. Eye drops containing either sodium cromoglycate or xylometazoline
for itchy, sore eyes caused by allergies.
Oral rehydration solutions, which may include effervescent tablets to be dissolved
in water, are most suitable for children.
OTC medications specific to young children
Wind and gripe
Child formulations are available to relieve the symptoms of wind and gripe.
Gels containing local anaesthetics and pain relievers (analgesics) are suitable
for use in children under 2 years old, as are paracetamol containing suspensions.
Some may also contain antiseptics.
Specially formulated preparations can be used to prevent nappy rash. These
clean and protect the skin. They can also be used to relieve the soreness
associated with nappy rash. Most antiseptic creams are also suitable for
treating nappy rash.
Digital and forehead thermometers are available for use in children. A child
may have a fever if their temperature is over 38oC/100.4oF.
Guidelines for everyone
on self-treating safely
- Keep all medicines in a secure place,
out of sight and reach of small children
and preferably where an adult can keep
an eye on them eg the kitchen
- Keep all medicines in their original
container and take precautions to avoid
them being affected by heat and humidity
- Always read and follow the instructions,
do not exceed the stated dose or treatment
- Do not use or keep medicines past their
- Women who are pregnant should consult
their GP before taking OTC medicines
- Always check with your pharmacist or
practice nurse before taking an OTC medicine
if you are already taking any prescription
or complimentary medicines
For more information on which products to buy
for your medicine chest visit