Truth be told, parents need to be careful when administering drugs to their children. Any drug substance that is deemed too much or not useful by the body of a child poses a health risk.

That is why the WHO and other health organizations frown at self-medication for children. It is not because it is wrong in its entirety, it is because it is better to be safe than sorry. Check here!

But, is paracetamol safe for children? Is it okay to self-prescribe it to a child? This article aims at answering those questions. Here, we give detailed but concise information on the safety of paracetamol for children.

What is paracetamol for children?

Paracetamol is a form of safe medication that can be administered to babies and children. Paracetamol is the most popular go-to drug for parents when they notice any form of discomfort in their children.

This drug is given to children either at the early stage of an illness when doctors aren’t reachable or to relieve children from any form of pain. The pains may include; toothaches, sore throat, and headache.

When can I administer paracetamol to my child?

  • Paracetamol can be administered in cases where the child is experiencing any kind of pain.
  • When body temperature is at 38.5o

When should paracetamol not be administered to children?

  • Paracetamol should not be given to children before, or immediately after administering any kind of vaccination.

However, in cases where the child is experiencing severe pain and appears to be uneasy, paracetamol can be given. Nonetheless, it is still advisable to seek the help of a doctor to be on the safe side.

  • Babies that are less than two months old should not be given paracetamol unless prescribed by the doctor.

Note that giving paracetamol in the wrong dosage might not cause any harm but it can reduce the activities of drugs. After giving paracetamol to a child, the child should be put to rest. The child is expected to feel better after 30minutes to an hour after taking the drugs. See the doctor if symptoms persist.

What are the forms in which paracetamol can be given?

Paracetamol is available in three different forms, namely;

  1. Tablets/capsules/pills- to be taken orally. Usually small and easily swallowed with or without water or any other suitable fluid. Tablets are produced in strengths, usually 500mg.
  2. Liquids/syrups- this form of paracetamol is available in two strengths. The lower strength is 120mg in a 5ml bottle, while the higher strength is 250mg in 5ml.
  3. Suppository: this might be the most uncomfortable form of paracetamol as it is taken through the anus. Just make sure to follow instructions on the packet before administering it.

What is the right dosage to give children and how often?

  • Paracetamol for children must be taken in lower dosages than adults. For tablets, depending on the strength, follow the prescription of the pharmacist.
  • For the liquid form, the syrup should be given according to age. Infant syrup is of strength 120mg in 5ml and is for children between ages 2months to 6years.


Paracetamol is a very safe drug to give children. However, parents must be watchful of the dosage. Especially in cases of panic, be mindful of the dosage you administer to your child. If symptoms persist, see a doctor for immediate treatment. Read our another article:

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Jorge Rodgers

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