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Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Medicine Safety and Children

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

December 5, 2009, 6:00 AM ET

About medicines for children

  • woman looking in medicine cabinetStore all medicines out of reach of children. Place them in a locked cabinet where children can’t reach them.
  • Buy pain and fever medicines that say “children’s” on the label. Also, look for the words “acetaminophen” or “ibuprofen” on the label.
  • Call the doctor if your child is very small or very large for his or her age so you will be sure to give the right amount of medicine. The dose you give your child depends on the child’s age and weight.
  • Use a special medicine spoon, dropper, or the cap that came with the medicine. Wash the cap, dropper, or spoon with soap and water after each use.
  • Don’t give cough or cold medicines to children younger than 4 years of age.

Warning

Think your child age 18 or younger might have the flu?

Never give them aspirin or products with aspirin in them.

Check all medicine labels to make sure they do not contain aspirin, also called salicylate. Although it mostly affects people age 18 or younger, Reye’s Syndrome can strike anyone who takes aspirin products when they have the flu.

Reye’s Syndrome is a rare, serious illness than can affect the blood, liver, and brain of someone who has recently had a flu virus. This illness can cause confusion, seizures, or coma. Talk to your child’s doctor about signs and symptoms of Reye’s Syndrome.

 
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