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Dublin: 5°C Monday 18 January 2021

Do you use medicines to help your child sleep? You shouldn't

It can be harmful, say pharmacists.

Image: Sleeping Child via Shutterstock

IRISH PARENTS ARE being warned not to give their children medicine to help them sleep.

Pharmacists today highlighted the need for parents to be “extremely careful about giving medicine to children”.

The warning came after research from a doctor at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin found that 30% of parents give their children painkillers to help them sleep at night or on long journeys.

The Irish Independent reports that Dr Aisling Garvey’s research found that children who are given medication are more likely to self-medicate later in life.

The Irish Pharmacy Union says that parents should always seek the advice of their pharmacist first to determine the correct medicine and the correct dose appropriate to their child’s age and symptoms.

Pharmacists also warned about the dangers of providing medicines to young children in order to sedate them during long journeys or get them to sleep at night.

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Bernard Duggan, Honorary Treasurer of the IPU, said that when in doubt, people should seek the advice of a professional.

“It is important to ensure the safe use of both over-the-counter and prescription medicines as some medicines are only suitable for adults and not for children. Medicine dosages for children should be adjusted according to the age and weight of the child. Too little medication can be ineffective and too much medication can be harmful. Also, different medications have different concentrations of ingredients. The best approach is to ask your pharmacist first for advice.”

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