Why you shouldn’t crush tablets for your baby


Amid the COVID-19 panic, many people are suffering due to shortages of basic necessities, and resorting to alternatives where possible (flushable wipes, anyone?)

Desperate parents who are unable to purchase baby or child paracetamol/ibuprofen, are reportedly crushing adult pain relief tablets, to give to their baby or child instead. This is extremely dangerous and is not an appropriate alternative to the correct baby/child pain relief medication.

Accuracy when giving medication to a child is vital – it is so important to always measure the dose given to children, and this is not possible when administering a medicine not made specifically for little ones.

According to NPS Medicinewise, medicines given incorrectly by parents and carers is one of the most common reasons for accidental poisonings in children under 12 months.

Using crushed adult painkillers also means that you are unable to know the dose that they are being given – especially in relation to their size, age, and weight.

Put simply, these adult medications are not made to correctly dose children or babies. There is a reason that there are pain relief options that are developed specifically for little ones.

If you find yourself needing baby or children’s pain relief and do not have any, consider the below;

  • Do you have an emergency stash you may have forgotten about, locked away in the house? (Remember to check the expiry date!)
  • Are there other ways in which you can relieve the pain? For example, you could use a teether for teething or a cold pack for bumps (and of course, lots of cuddles!)
  • Does your child need the medication? In some instances, there is no alternative that will provide relief. However there are some circumstances in which many believe painkillers are necessary, but they aren’t! For example, giving a child pain relief medication solely to treat a fever is not necessary – the fever is the body’s natural response to an infection. It does not need pain killers to be “brought down”. Pain relief should only be given for comfort if the child is miserable. More on that,
  • Have you called all possible stockists in your area?

If you have exhausted all options and believe your little one still needs pain relief, seek medical attention.

For further reading on giving medicines to children, please visit NPS MedicineWise.

If you ever suspect you have overdosed your child, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26. If they are unresponsive or having difficulty breathing, call an ambulance immediately.

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