Revised: 29 May 2013

Safety Information

Use of Cough and Cold Medicines in Children - Updated advice

What should I do for my child when they have the common cold?

The best treatment for a child with the common cold is to make them comfortable. You could try:

  • Increasing the amount of fluid your child drinks.
  • Making sure your child gets enough rest.
  • Using saline nose drops to loosen dried nasal secretions. Ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse about these.
  • Provide a comfortable environment with adequate humidity (moisture in the air).
  • Make sure all members of the household wash their hands to prevent the spread of the virus causing the common cold.
  • Treat discomfort from fever and pain with paracetamol or junior ibuprofen, depending on the age of the child. Ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse about these.

Remember the following when giving your child any medicine:

  • Always read and follow the instructions on the label.
  • Do not use adult medicines or adult doses in children.
  • Do not guess the correct dose for your child, ask your pharmacist for assistance.
  • Check the expiry date on the package and never use medicines past their expiry date.
  • When purchasing a liquid medicine, if possible choose one that is supplied in child-resistant packaging and includes an accurate measuring device.
  • Always store medicines out of sight and reach of children.


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