How to give your child liquid medicines

Liquid medicines are often prescribed to children, for a variety of reasons. To make sure that you give the right dose to your child, we advise you to use an oral syringe. This is much more accurate and easy to use than a medicine spoon or cup. The video below gives instructions on how to give a liquid medicine (from a bottle fitted with a bung).

For more information on giving medicines to children or babies 

Instructions on using an oral syringe

  • Wash your hands.
  • Make sure your child is sitting upright.
  • Shake the bottle unless stated otherwise on the label.
  • Remove the top from the bottle and insert the bottle adapter if necessary.
  • Insert the top of the oral syringe into the bottle adapter.
  • Turn the bottle upside down and pull the plunger until the medicine reaches the volume required. Check measurement on syringe before giving dose.
  • Gently remove the oral syringe from the bottle adapter.
  • Put the top back on the bottle.
  • Put the tip of the oral syringe inside your child’s mouth between the gums and the inside surface of their cheek.
  •  Gently push the plunger to squirt small amounts of medicine into the side of your child’s mouth.
  • Allow your child to swallow before you carry on pushing the plunger. Do not squirt the entire dose into your child's mouth in one go - they may choke.
  • Give your child a drink to wash down the medicine.
  • When you have given the whole dose, take the syringe apart and wash the sections in warm, soapy water unless directed otherwise on the label.
  • Leave the syringe sections to dry naturally away from heat and sunlight then re-assemble the syringe ready for the next dose.

Storing the liquid medicine safely

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Ask your pharmacist about storing the medicine. Some need to be kept in the fridge but others only need to be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • Read the instructions on the label and only use the liquid medicine as instructed.
  • Always check the expiry date of the medicine before you give it to your child.
  • Always check that you are giving the correct dose of medicine as some medicines are available in different strengths.
  • If the medicine passes its expiry date or your child stops using it, please return it to your pharmacist. Do not flush it down the toilet or throw it away.

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