Managing pain: Helping your child feel all-better.


Children feel pain in much the same way as adults, but tend to be a lot more vocal about it! What’s more, it can be difficult for parents to figure out what’s causing the grumps or grumbles - a ‘sore head’ can mean earache, headache, teething pain or a sore throat.

Older children can usually tell you what is wrong, but babies and young children can’t, except by crying or screaming. If your baby is crying for no apparent reason, monitor him or her closely (see signs and symptoms of illness in babies) - for anything that seems unusual to you. 

Mild pain can be managed at home with Pamol®, but moderate to severe pain may need to be checked out by a doctor1. Even if your child doesn’t have any of these common symptoms of illness, trust your instincts and head to a doctor if you’re at all concerned.

If your child is sore or hurting, but cannot express how much, this handy pain scale can help you understand how much they are hurting.

How much medicine and how often?

Paracetamol (such as Pamol®) is the recommended first-line treatment for pain and fever in children2.  When you’re giving any medicine to children, it’s vital to get the dose right, as too much may cause damage to developing organs2. Always check you are giving the right dose for your child’s age and weight, give paracetamol no more than four hourly, and no more than four doses in 24 hours3.

Before giving any medicine:

  • Always check the pack for dosage instructions, or use our handy online dose calculator to figure out the right amount for your child.
  • Check the active ingredient to see if it’s appropriate to give to your child.
  • Always check the dose strength, as different brands and products have different strengths.
  • Measure the dose accurately – it’s best to buy a dosing syringe from your pharmacy.
  • Always shake the bottle to ensure the medicine is dispersed evenly.
  • Make sure your child is not taking any other medicines (over-the-counter or prescription) that contain the same ingredients, or may interact with the medicine you are giving.
  • If your child may be dehydrated because of their illness, ensure they drink plenty of fluids.

Note: Ibuprofen is an NSAID which may be used as an alternative to paracetamol for management of inflammatory pain and fever in children2. However, it should not be given to children under 12 months of age without a doctor’s advice4. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age4.
It is not recommended to routinely use paracetamol and ibuprofen together, unless on a doctor’s advice for short-term use5.   

You’ll find more tips for relieving aches and pains here.

References: 1. guidelines, endorsed by the Paediatric Society of NZ, accessed 11 Sep 2014. 2. Avoiding medication errors in children: a practical guide for healthcare professionals. BPJ issue 29, Jul 2010. 3. New Zealand Formulary for Children 1 Feb 2014 4. NZ Ministry of Health, Medsafe, Label Statements Database. Accessed 11 Sep 2014. 5. Non-steriodal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): making safer choices. BPJ Issue 55, Oct 2013. PAMOL® for the treatment of child pain and fever. Pamol® contains paracetamol 250mg/5mL. Always read the label and use only as directed. Incorrect use can be harmful. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. ® Registered Trademark. Aspen Pharmacare C/- Healthcare Logistics, Auckland, TAPS PP5716.