When your baby falls ill it’s always a worry – for a start she can’t tell you what’s wrong, so you have to guess from the symptoms.


With toddlers it’s slightly easier as they can tell you what’s wrong, or at least point to the area. While it won’t stop you worrying, keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet means you’re prepared for those childhood ailments.

Before buying any over-the-counter remedy or medicine for your baby or toddler, always check with the pharmacist that it’s safe for your child’s age, and make sure prescription medicines are in date.

When you’re out and about with your child, it’s a good idea to carry a mini first-aid kit in your bag and one in your car. Another good tip is to keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone – your doctor, local A&E department and your nearest neighbours in case you need help getting to hospital. Even local family and friends can be called upon in times of crisis.

Essential medicines

Infant paracetamol
This reduces fever and relieves all types of pain. It’s licensed for use in infants over two months of age.

Ibuprofen which can be interspersed with doses of paracetamol, is an anti inflammatory drug licensed for babies weighing over 7kg (about 5 months of age). As well as being a pain killer it will reduce fever. Both are often all that’s needed if your child has a cold or flu.

These release vapours which can help to ease the uncomfortable ‘blocked-up’ feeling caused by colds and other viruses. There’s a choice of application; ointment, liquid capsules and infusion.

Anti-allergy preparations
If your baby is bitten or stung, or has a mild allergic reaction to something, and if he’s 12 months old or more, you can give him a dose of antihistamine, such as Infant Piriton. Be cautious about using antihistamine creams on children as there’s a risk of irritating the skin and making any rash any rash worse. Calamine lotion is usually sufficient for treating local reactions.

Saline nose drops
These act like a decongestant in newborn and young babies, and are particularly helpful if your baby is having difficulty feeding because of a stuffy nose. They’re available from pharmacies.


Oral rehydration salts (ORS)
These replace the vital fluids and minerals lost when a baby is dehydrated, and are available on prescription or over-the-counter. Dehydration is a serious condition which should be seen by a doctor.