✓ Only paediatric antibiotics should be prescribed for children. These are mixed into a syrup and should be kept in the fridge and out of direct sunlight. Do not let it freeze. Throw out what’s left over after 14 days.
✓ The doctor/pharmacist should ask about family allergies to penicillin. Parents should be warned about sideeffects and what to look out for.
✓ The prescription should take the child’s age and weight into account
✓ The script should show the strength of the medicine, the dosage and how often it should be given. Paediatric antibiotics are usually flavoured syrups and come with a 5ml spoon for older children. Only give the dose prescribed. For younger children, a syringe is easier to use and more accurate.
✓ Check whether the medicine should be given before or after feeds. Medicines should not be added to bottles or feeds. This is because if the baby doesn’t finish his feed, he will not get the full dose of medicine.
✓ Keep all medicines where the child can’t reach them
✓ A probiotic (such as lactobacillus bifidus) or pure plain yogurt should be given with antibiotics to prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhoea
✓ It is important to give your child his antibiotics regularly and not only when you remember. This is because the antibiotic becomes less effective over time as it becomes less concentrated in the blood. The longer the antibiotic is ineffective, the more the bacteria will have the opportunity to strengthen and start multiplying.
✓ If you miss a dose, don’t double-dose. Resume the regular dosage schedule. Phone your doctor or pharmacist if you are worried.