When it comes to taking medicines, kids aren't just small adults. For prescription medicines, there is a "Pediatric" section of the label. It says whether the medication has been studied for its effects on children. It also tells you what ages have been studied. Aside from drugs for fever or pain, most over-the-counter products haven't actually been studied in children for effectiveness, safety, or dosing.
When you give medicine to your child, be sure you're giving the right medicine and the right amount. Read and follow the label directions. Use the correct dosing device. If the label says two teaspoons and you're using a dosing cup with ounces only, don't guess. Get the proper measuring device. Don't substitute another item, such as a kitchen spoon. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider before giving two medicines at the same time. That way, you can avoid a possible overdose or an unwanted interaction. Follow age and weight limit recommendations. If the label says don't give to children under a certain age or weight, don't do it.
Food and Drug Administration
- Giving Medication to Children (Food and Drug Administration)
- Got a Sick Kid? Don't Guess. Read the Label (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Kids Aren't Just Small Adults: Medicines, Children and the Care Every Child Deserves (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Medications: Using Them Safely (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- What Medicines Are and What They Do (For Kids) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Kids' Hemophilia Drugs a Big Part of State Medicaid Spending (07/31/2015, HealthDay)
- Misconceptions about Antibiotics (07/21/2015, HealthDay)
- Unapproved Ear Drops Targeted by FDA (07/01/2015, HealthDay)
- FDA: Use Only Approved Prescription Ear Drops (07/01/2015, Food and Drug Administration)
- As They Grow: Teaching Your Children How to Use Medicines Safely (Food and Drug Administration)
- Daily Medicine Record for Your Child (Food and Drug Administration)
- How to Give Your Child Medicine (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Talking to the Pharmacist (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Acetaminophen and Children: Why Dosage Matters (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Benzocaine and Babies: Not a Good Mix (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Cold Medicines for Kids: What's the Risk? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Danger of Antibiotic Overuse (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Have a Baby or Young Child With a Cold? Most Don't Need Medicines (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- How to Safely Give Acetaminophen (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- How to Safely Give Ibuprofen (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- OTC Cough and Cold Products: Not for Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age (Food and Drug Administration)
- Parents: Acetaminophen in Pain Relief Medicines Can Cause Liver Damage (Food and Drug Administration)
- Study Drugs (Nemours Foundation)
Statistics and Research
- Use of Medication Prescribed for Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties among Children Aged 6-17 Years in the United States, 2011-2012 (National Center for Health Statistics)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Personalizing pediatric pain medicine: using population-specific pharmacogenetics, genomics, and other...
- Article: Zinc supplementation for improving pregnancy and infant outcome.
- Article: Calcium supplementation (other than for preventing or treating hypertension) for...
- Medicines and Children -- see more articles
- How Do Pain Relievers Work? (For Kids) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Medicines in My Home: Information for Students on the Safe Use of Over-the-Counter Medicines (Food and Drug Administration) - PDF