“Over-the-counter” (OTC) means you can buy the medicine without a doctor’s prescription. This
All OTC medicines have the same kind of label. The label gives important information about the medicine. It says what it is for, how to use it, what is in it, and what to watch out for. Look on the box or bottle, where it says “Drug Facts.”
Ask the Doctor or Pharmacist
Check the chart on the label to see how much medicine to give. If you know your child’s weight, use that first. If not, go by age. Check the label to make sure it is safe for infants and toddlers younger than 2 years. If you are not sure, ask your child’s doctor.
Before you give your child any medicines, be sure you know how to use them. Here are some questions you can ask the doctor or pharmacist
How will this medicine help my child?
Can you show me how to use this medicine?
How much medicine do I give my child? When? For how long?
Are there any side effects
*from this medicine?
How can I learn more about this medicine?
What if my child spits it out?
Does it come in chewable tablets
Also, always tell your child’s doctor or pharmacist:
If your child is taking
If your child has any reactions to a medicine.
Call the Doctor Right Away If…
…your child throws up a lot or gets a rash after taking any medicine. Even if a medicine is safe, your child may be allergic
About Pain and Fever Medicines
Acetaminophen (uh-SET-tuh-MIN-uh-fin) and ibuprofen (eye-byoo-PROH-fin) help with fever and headaches or body aches. Tylenol is one brand name for acetaminophen. Advil and Motrin are brand names for ibuprofen.
These medicines also can help with pain from bumps, or soreness from a shot. Ask the doctor which one is best for your child.
What Else You Need to Know
Nevergive ibuprofen to a baby younger than 6 months.
If your child has a kidney disease, asthma, an ulcer, or another chronic (long-term) illness,
ask the doctor before giving ibuprofen.
Don’t give acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the same time as other OTC medicines, unless your child’s doctor says it’s OK.
A Warning About Aspirin
Ask your pharmacist about other medicines that may contain aspirin. Or, contact the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation at 1-800-233-7393 or
What to Do for Poisoning:
Call the Poison Center if you’re not sure.
Sometimes parents find their child with something in his or her mouth or with an open bottle of medicine. The Poison Center can help you find out if this could hurt your child. Don’t wait until your child is sick to call the Poison Center.
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away!
if your child:
Is passed out and can’t wake up, OR
Is having a lot of trouble breathing, OR
Is twitching or shaking out of control, OR
Is acting very strange.
Don’t use syrup of ipecac.
If you have syrup of ipecac in your home, flush it down the toilet and throw away the bottle. Years ago people used syrup of ipecac to make children throw up if they swallowed poison. Now we know that you should not make a child throw up.