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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Should I give my 5.6 year old cough medicine meant for age 6+?

(19 Posts)
Moveslikejagger Sat 28-Jan-12 08:15:41

She has a terrible chesty cough, can't get appt at doc til Monday. Would it be a silly thing to do? I just want to make her more comfortable.

Marne Sat 28-Jan-12 08:18:14

Should be fine, i have given my 5 year old the 6+ calpol a few times, after being flamed on her i went and checked with the chemist and was told it is fine. These medicines never used to have a 6+ guidline.

Shutupanddrive Sat 28-Jan-12 08:18:17

I would

Debs75 Sat 28-Jan-12 08:19:30

No not if she is at least on the 50% for weight and height, that way she will be as big as most small to average 6 years old. If she is a tiny 5.6 then maybe not. Although saying that you could just give her half a dose

TheUnsinkableTitanic Sat 28-Jan-12 08:23:25

i go by weight. i have a 5 year old that i give 6+ medicine too, but he is the size of an average 7 year old (v.tall)

this was on advice of doctor

Nagoo Sat 28-Jan-12 08:25:49

I would.

I might give a little bit less than the dose stated.

Sirzy Sat 28-Jan-12 08:35:17

If its that terrible I would be taking her to the ooh gp personally.

squeakytoy Sat 28-Jan-12 08:38:44

Check with a chemist, they are often as good if not better than doctors at telling you which cough medicine is best.

AuntingCarse Sat 28-Jan-12 08:42:10

Unless it really warrants a visit to the OOH Doc I would for sure. My youngest DD has a hacking snot cough, definitely not a chest infection. We saw the GP a couple of days ago and she is on Antibs for tonsils and ear infection, Doc said to give her the 6+ cough medicine at night time to ease her throat/snot pool at the top of it. She is 3 next month.

doradoo Sat 28-Jan-12 08:50:40

Although it states 6+ on the bottle, drug doses are all calculated by weight - hence the reason for Calpol changing their dosage guidance on the bottle recently.

The 6+ formula will have a diff concentration to the younger formula hence the restrictions. Just like a normal 'adult' paracetamol tend to be 500mg - you could prob look online and find that you could give 1/4 or 1/2 an adult table too (instead of not as well as).

So as a pp said, if your 5yo is about average weight wise then you should be fine.

Here's a dosage guide from


The recommended dosage of paracetamol in adults is two 500mg tablets (i.e. 1gm paracetamol) every four to six hours, not exceeding eight tablets (4gms) in any 24 hour period (1). This dosage may be continued for several days. If pain relief is required for a longer period it should be with the supervision of a doctor.

Children's dosages vary with the age of the child and the type of product, therefore the instructions on the pack should always be followed.

In general, children's dosages are based on a single dose of 10mg paracetamol per kilogram bodyweight, which can be repeated 4-6 hourly, not exceeding four doses per 24 hours.

On a doctor's recommendation only, paracetamol may be given to a 2 month old child following immunisation as a single dose of 60mg (i.e. 2.5mL paracetamol liquid (oral suspension) at a strength 120mg per 5 mL).

For children under 3 months, on a doctor's advice only, the dosage is 10mg paracetamol per kilogram body weight (5mg/kg if jaundiced).

For a child 3 months to 1 year of age a dose of between 60mg and 120mg (i.e. 2.5mL to 5mL of paracetamol liquid (oral suspension) at a strength of 120mg/5mL) may be repeated every 4-6 hours to a maximum of 4 doses in 24 hours.

For a child 1 to 5 years of age 120mg to 250mg (i.e. 5mL to 10mL of paracetamol liquid (oral suspension) at a strength of 120mg/5mL) may be repeated every 4-6 hours to a maximum of 4 doses in 24 hours.

For a child 6 to 12 years of age 250mg to 500 mg (i.e. 5mL to 10mL paracetamol liquid (oral suspension) at a strength of 250mg/5mL) may be repeated every 4-6 hours to a maximum of 4 doses in 24 hours.

Moveslikejagger Sat 28-Jan-12 08:52:12

thanks for replies, she'l not really ill or anything so ooh appt not necessary but it is a pretty horrible cough. she's very tall for her age so will have a word with pharmacist too. I wouldn't have thought twice about it a few years ago until the regs changed!

Alligatorpie Sat 28-Jan-12 08:55:08

Auntingcarse I find that very worrying that a dr has prescribed 6+ Meds for a two year old. I think I would get a second opinion before administering it. And possibly a new dr.

OP, it would depend on how much your child weighs. My dd is six but is only 33 lbs. I am not sure I would give her a full dose of cough Meds.

Sirzy Sat 28-Jan-12 09:09:38

Alli - it could well be the case it was prescribed at a much lower dose suitable for the child's weight.

NiceViper Sat 28-Jan-12 09:26:19

OP: do you mean plain Calpol (described so comprehensively in doradoo's post), or something like Calpol Night or Medised, which contains an additional antihistamine.

This was withdrawn from infants owing to side-effects (including depressing respiratory function in children who may already be struggling to breathe, and worst case causing heart arrhythmia which, very rarely, leads to death).

These are not trivial side effects. Studies show that the effect of the antihistamine is minimal to non-existent, and that the benefit is from the paracetamol alone, which is much safer given in its plain form. I hope this is the version you mean, and that your DC gets better safely.

NiceViper Sat 28-Jan-12 09:29:11

" I find that very worrying that a dr has prescribed 6+ Meds for a two year old"

I wouldn't. Doctors are trained in prescribing and the risk/balance of all sorts of medicines. I have no difficulty in accepting prescriptions for things like antibiotics or really strong pain killers, which I could not buy OTC at all

ginmakesitallok Sat 28-Jan-12 09:29:29

A pharmacist will not sell you medicine meant for 6+ for your 5 year old.

AuntingCarse Sat 28-Jan-12 09:57:29

Alligatorpie - I don't, a recommendation of 2.5ml to soothe my DD's throat and cough at nighttime is absolutely fine. It's not like she said I dose her up throughout the day. I'm glad she did recommend something, as the past three weeks of rotten nights for my DD have taken their toll on her, running her down and likely to have contributed to her ear/tonsil infections.

callmemrs Sat 28-Jan-12 10:03:42

As the medicine will be calculated on Size not age, there is certain to be a large margin either side of the '6 year old' category. So your child will be fine, unless she's particularly small. Having said that, most GPs I've spoken to have admitted that cough medicine is largely useless and you're as well off making a hot lemon and honey drink. There are no active ingredients in shop bought cough mixtures which are likely to do any more than a home made recipe would.
Anti biotics, if it turns out to be a chest infection, are a different matter altogether- and you should take your your dd to the doctor If it seems like this.
But a classic nagging annoying cough- save your money and make up your own soothing drink

TheParanoidAndroid Sat 28-Jan-12 10:07:23

on the one hand cough medicine doesn't really work, and the other hand your kid could drink an entire bottle and have no dangerous effects.

So, whatever you want really.

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