Office of Pre-Primary Education and Childcare


Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

Member Login

Member and Library Subscriber Article Drop-down Menus


Administering medicine including painkillers such as paracetamol

By Warwick Marshall
© ChildForum


Communication and a joint approach with parents and families 

Pressure from parents and confusion over administering painkillers such as Panadol, Pamol and Ibuprofen could be putting the health of children in early childhood education services at risk.

Reports from teachers and carers show conflicting views and interpretations in ECE services over whether such painkillers should be administered to children while in care.

Free parent information sheet
We suggest you refer parents to an on-line family information sheet published by MY ECE - the link is: https://www.myece.org.nz/health-safety/249-paracetamol-ibuprofen-medicine-pain-fever-children


Painkiller risk to children

Prolonged use or overdosing paracetamol (e.g. Panadol, Pamol and Paracare) is dangerous to babies and children, causing liver damage and cardiac abnormalities. Ibuprofen may cause drowsiness and dizziness and may be harmful in children who are dehydrated or have asthma (common brand names include Fenpaed and Nurofen). 

The problems

1. The Ministry of Education Licensing Criteria (requirements) could be confusing ECE services on when and how to administer such medication, as the requirements can be difficult to interpret and navigate.

2. Some ECE services (and parents) are unaware they risk overdosing a child by going even slightly over directed dosage levels.

3. Some parents quickly and frequently administer or request administering such painkillers to their children, perhaps due to not knowing the risks.

Our parents regularly medicate their children before sending them to the centre. Around lunchtime it wears off and the child springs a temp. Parents know their child is not well but send them anyway.

4. A child sick or in pain is perhaps in no state to be attending an ECE programme and could be contagious to others. 


Contents of the following article

The article below gives our early childhood network members the latest information and good practice guidance on:

  • the relevant Ministry of Education licensing requirements
  • how to cope if a child becomes unexpectedly ill or in pain while in care
  • how long must a child wait before they can receive pain relief
  • the practicality of current requirements and could they be made more so
  • accidental overdosing
  • why some parents/ guardians are doping their children to try to hide illness
  • helping parents to make the best choices


To keep reading, login with your member's username and password

Here’s how our membership plans work

  • Individual Members can view all the individual member-only articles and our library of Research Journals.
  • Full Early Childhood Service Members (staff and managers) can view everything including individual member articles, ECE research journals, and management and business (Go to the Join Us page for more details) 
  • Research Library subscribers have access only to our online library of Research Journals (this includes all past and current journal issues).

If you are not yet a member you are welcome to apply now - it takes only a few minutes to apply Smile Go to the JOIN US page 

Free E-Newsletter

Receive the free Early Childhood Alert.


We hate spam as much as you, we will not sell your contact details to anyone.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read our Privacy Policy here.

Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum

Join Us!



Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Any person who has an interest in early childhood education and care or who works directly with children.

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

The membership belongs to you, and you only. Enjoy your own personal username and password.

ECE Service Organisation

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed. Gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS service operation and management area. 

$198.00 12 months for a standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licence

The membership belongs to your whole organisation, team members and managers.

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.