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What is the legal position on petrol stations selling medicine to a parent when the child is under the age of what the medicine is designed for?

(19 Posts)
phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:13:29


twirlymum Tue 16-Nov-10 09:19:18

Surely that's the parents responsibility?????

Guacamohohohole Tue 16-Nov-10 09:19:54

How would they even know?

Sidge Tue 16-Nov-10 09:21:03

I imagine it's the parent's responsibility - garages etc can usually only sell paracetamol, ibuprofen etc and aren't staffed by pharmacists, so the onus must be on the parent to buy the correct product?

(Not a legal bod at all but just my thoughts)

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:21:33

This is what I am wondering, twirlymum.

They know because the mother told them the age of their child.

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:22:20

Sidge - the assistant offered the medicine to the mother knowing it was for a higher age group.

prh47bridge Tue 16-Nov-10 09:25:53

If you specifically stated that you wanted cough mixture for a child of a particular age (i.e. you stated the age of your child) and they sold you something unsuitable you have a case for rejecting the medicine and getting your money back, but you would have to be able to show that they gave you this advice. In any other situation this isn't their problem. If you select the medicine it is your responsibility to ensure that it is appropriate for your child. Even if you had your child with you, shop assistants are not expected to be able to judge the age of your child nor are they expected to know that you are buying medicine for this child as opposed to some other child you have at home.

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:28:09

I am not the mother by the way, just another customer. When I made a comment I had my head bitten off and my change thrown at me so I won't be shopping there again but I just felt uncomfortable with it and felt compelled to say something.

prh47bridge Tue 16-Nov-10 09:28:22

Cross posted.

If you can prove that the mother told them the age of her child and the assistant then offered the medicine, there is a case for rejecting the medicine getting a refund.

dilbertina Tue 16-Nov-10 09:30:29

I think it would be parents responsibility too. Why on earth would you assume a garage cashier had any medical opinion worth considering? I guess they probably shouldn't say anything but I guess they were trying to be helpful and pointing out what they DID have.

Actually, I do sometimes give mine "over-age" medicine. eg 6plus calpol to 4yo at half measures. This was after dd was prescribed it age 3 after grommet op (in fairly large doses) - the docs explained it's just stronger than baby calpol and as long as you're very careful on quantity there is no risk.

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:32:00

They did say it was the parent's responsibility but I was thinking along the lines of a chemist probably wouldn't sell it so why is it okay for a garage to?

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:32:42

I didn't think they had an opinion worth listening too more that they don't have the qualifications for advising on medicine.

dilbertina Tue 16-Nov-10 09:36:09

So what did you say?!

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 09:45:00

I just said they needed to be careful selling medicine for a child what is younger than the medicine is. I got a mouthful back so I know what I said wasn't appreciated.

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Nov-10 10:33:13

They don't have qualifications for advising on medicines - that's why they are garage attendants and not pharmacists. They are only allowed to sell medicines that can be sold over the counter without a pharmacist, same as your local corner store or supermarket. Supermarkets can let you buy paracetamol and cough mix through their scan-yourself tills, where nobody even sees what you are buying.

Its up to the person buying those medicines to decide whether to give them to a smaller child or not - the garage attendant wasn't saying "in my medical opinion this product is safe for your child" just "we don't have any that says for under 3's but we've got this one" They won't get into any legal trouble for selling it, any more than they would for saying "we don't have any Green & Blacks but we do have Bournville"

It's a product they sell and you can buy. Up to you (or the parent in this case) to buy it or not.

They were rude to snap at you for commenting, but they don't "need to be careful" as there is no legal involvement.

phipps Tue 16-Nov-10 10:39:02

Thank you for explaining all that. I won't be going back there as I don't want another mouthful.

What is the point of age ranges on medicines if a parent can ignore it and buy the medicine?

cantdecidewhattodo Tue 16-Nov-10 10:47:44

phipps - age ranges on medicines are for GUIDANCE.

It is up to parents to exercise their responsibility and not give their DCs inappropriate medicines. They take the final decision.

They can read the bottle just as well as the assistant at a garage.

titchy Tue 16-Nov-10 10:53:16

"What's the point of age ranges on medicines?" hmm.

Err if they're so pointless why not just remove them altogether?

I think the point of them is fairly obvious.

Can't really believe you thought it was any of your business tbh - maybe fair enough if you advised the parents (though I'd be rather hmm if you did), but why would you think it was your job to 'educate' a cashier? Or are you more qualified than her?

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Nov-10 11:08:46

Well, unless medicines are going to be spooned into the child's mouth by a pharmacist, there is always an element of "but the parent could ignore it" in any purchase. The point of the age range is to give the adult buying it the necessary information. If it didn't say anything on the bottle, then the 99.9% of parents who are careful about what they give their child wouldn't have that information.

The 0.1% of parents who will ignore the age information shouldn't mean the rest of us don't get told what age it is suitable for!

Stronger medicines have to be bought from a pharmacist who will check that the parent undrestand what age it is for and why that matters. And stronger still has to be on a prescription so the doctor has a chance to make sure the parent understands.

Unless you want to make Anadin and cough medicine presription only, or served up by a phramacist like methadone, you have to trust people to pay some attention and care enough to not harm their child.

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