Paracetamol for feverish children: parental motives and experiences

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

OBJECTIVE: The sale of paracetamol products for children is increasing, and more children are accidentally given overdoses, even though the use of paracetamol against fever is still under discussion. This study explores Danish parents' use of paracetamol for feverish children and their motives for this use. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey using structured interviews. Setting. Four general practices located in city, suburb, and rural area. SUBJECTS: A total of 100 Danish parents with at least one child under the age of 10 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of parents administering paracetamol to feverish children, situations triggering medication of a child, parental views regarding fever and effects of paracetamol, and sources of information on fever treatment. RESULTS: Three in four parents use paracetamol for feverish children, mainly to reduce temperature, to decrease pain, and to help the child fall asleep. Highly educated parents medicate more often than less educated. Parents often fear fever but this does not clearly affect their use of paracetamol. Many parents believe in perceived beneficial effects of paracetamol, such as increased appetite and well-being, better sleep, and prevention of fever seizures. These expectations of paracetamol influence parental use of the drug. Parents' main source of information on fever and paracetamol is their general practitioner (GP). CONCLUSIONS: Danish parents regularly treat feverish children with paracetamol. Although parents contact their GP for advice on fever treatment, paracetamol is sometimes given to children on vague indications. Clearer information for parents on when to give paracetamol as fever treatment may help regulate its use
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Volume28
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
ISSN0281-3432
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ID: 32344402