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Children's pain

Child with plaster on knee
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At some point in their lives your child will feel pain whether from falling over in the playground or perhaps earache. The important thing is that when they feel pain you know how to help them feel better quickly and what products you can use to take their pain way.

Sore throats, teething, toothache, colds and flu are all common pain that our children and we as adults feel. Your child may not be able to verbalise the type of pain they are feeling, however there are tell-tale signs that you can spot to help you determine what they are experiencing.

Signs of pain in children can include:

  • Using one arm or one leg more than the other
  • Being less active and not wanting to do physical activities
  • Changes in appetite and sleep
  • Wanting to be alone and not wanting to interact with other children
  • Change in mood such as being irritable or acting out
  • Gasping, wincing and frowning as a way to express pain
  • Sweating, dull eyes, flushed skin and breathing rapidly

It’s also good to ask your child to point to where the pain is as well as taking the time to talk about words that describe types of pain such as, itchy, sore and burning. That way when they do experience pain they can try to tell you what kind they are experiencing.

Choosing the right painkiller

Whatever the pain, whenever it strikes, you need to act fast to soothe your child’s troubles. That means having the right painkillers that are suitable for children to hand. Here's a guide to the best children's painkillers and doses, and you can also ask your pharmacy team for more advice.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common painkillers used to treat children's pain and fevers (high temperatures). They come in different strengths and forms, such as liquids and dissolvable tablets, depending on the age of your child.

Changes in paracetamol dosages

Paracetamol dosages for products such as Calpol* were originally based on three age groups. To give more accurate dosing, these dosages are now based on narrower age bands as follows:

Infant Paracetamol (120mg/5ml)

Age range  Dose
3 to 6 months 2.5ml up to four times a day
6 to 24 months 5ml up to four times a day
2 to 4 years 7.5ml up to four times a day
4 to 6 years 10ml up to four times a day


Six years plus Paracetamol Suspension (250mg/5ml)

 Age range Dose
6 to 8 years 5ml up to four times a day
8 to 10 years 7.5ml up to four times a day
10 to 12 years 10ml up to four times a day


If you have any concerns about your child and their symptoms please speak to your pharmacy team or GP.


*Always read the label.