What you need to know

  • Always talk to a doctor before giving paracetamol to a baby under three months old.
  • Make sure to give the correct dose of medication for your child’s age and weight, as too much can cause them to become very sick or poison them. 
  • If you're not sure how to calculate your child's dose or have questions, call PlunketLine or your family doctor.

Paracetamol can relieve pain and help kids who have a fever and are miserable. In New Zealand, it is known under several brand names including Panadol®, Children's Panadol®, Paracare®, Pamol® and Junior Parapaed.  

When to give paracetamol

Always seeadvice from a doctor before giving baby paracetamol if they are under three months old.

You can give paracetamol to your child if they are older than three months and they:

  • are in pain 
  • have a fever over 38.5 degreeand are miserable (not every child with a fever will need paracetamol so observe your little one and give them medication only as needed).

When to seek medical help 

Paracetamol should start to work about 30 minutes after it’s taken. Call PlunketLine or your doctor if your child hasn’t improved after taking medication and: 

  • is still in pain 
  • the fever is getting higher or not going down 
  • is very ill 
  • you are worried about them. 

Dosage

It’s important to give the correct dose of medication for your child’s age and weight, as too much can cause them to become sick or poison them. 

Never give your child more than four doses in a 24-hour period – that means a dose every four to six hours (you should not give another dose if it has been less than four hours). 

Calculating your child’s dose

Child's weight (kg) 120mg per 5 mL  250mg per 5mL 
 5kg or less   Ask a doctor Ask a doctor
 6.5 kg  4 mL  2 mL
 8  5  2.5
 10  6  3
 20  12  6
 30  18  9
 40  25  12

Call your pharmacy, doctor, or PlunketLine if you have questions about your child’s dosage. 

Keeping track of your child’s dosage 

It’s important to keep a log of how much medication your child takes and what time you gave it to them. It can be easy to lose track of what dose you gave your child and when – especially if you’re up during the night to take care of them. 

Recording your child’s medicationsthe dose and the time you gave them is helpful if there is more than one caregiver looking after your little one.  

Paracetamol with pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking paracetamol. Paracetamol can usually be safely used by pregnant women but there are limits to how much can be safely taken in a 24-hour period. Always follow the label and make sure the medication is not expired. 

Paracetamol can be safely used during breastfeeding. However, where possible, it’s best to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest time. Most medicines that a mum takes will pass into her breast milk, which is why it is always important to check a medicine is safe to take while breastfeeding  always check with your doctor or pharmacist. 

Safe storage

Keep all medications, including paracetamolin safe place that is:

  • out of the reach and of out sight from your kids 
  • in a locked or latched cupboard 
  • at room temperature
  • in a container with a child-resistant cap, so your child can’t open it.
Paracetamol: A useful medicine and common poison

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