Every parent knows it: children are sick or cold all the time. But a small increase doesn’t always mean they have to stay in bed all day. According to general practitioner Bernard Leenstra, children benefit from receiving paracetamol earlier, so that they feel more comfortable again more quickly.
“Let me first say that children who are really sick should be at home. I am absolutely in favor of that,” he says to Editie NL. “But often children only have a small increase, or for example an early ear infection. For those children, a paracetamol can be a panacea. Then they may not have any complaints for hours, and that they can eat and drink normally again and can participate in the group .”
He notes that nurseries often won’t give paracetamol because they say it’s not allowed by the GGD or that it can cause febrile seizures, for example. “But that’s not true. The GGD doesn’t say at all that it’s not allowed, and there are all sorts of myths and fables about paracetamol, but it’s not true. It’s a very safe drug that we GPs also quickly prescribe for children who are sick.”
However, according to him, this does not mean that paracetamol should be given inappropriately. “The daycare must call the parents, and the parents must give written permission. And if the child has not recovered after an hour, he must still be picked up.”
Day care providers understand all too well that it is very annoying for parents to have to pick up a child from the shelter. But they don’t usually give paracetamol to keep the kids going. Ilse Raasing, director of Waterland Childcare, explains why. “If, for example, a child is so sick and has a very high fever, the parents have to come and collect the child. We don’t have the staff to take care of sick children,” she tells Editie NL.
However, they are not completely against the administration of paracetamol. “In some cases, it takes a while for parents to collect their child. In those cases, we ask the parent if they want us to give paracetamol beforehand. If parents want this, they give permission for this in our app. We serve paracetamol, among other things, so go ahead while we wait for the parents.”
At Second Home Childcare in Almere, they are a little more conservative. “We don’t give paracetamol, because we don’t know the child’s medical record. We can’t take the risk that something goes wrong. What if the child has an allergy? Or that it causes febrile seizures?”, says director Mariam Talhaoui to Editie NL.
“If a parent really cannot collect the child, we allow the parent themselves or a relative to come and give the pill. We do not give paracetamol ourselves unless it is prescribed by the GP. The parents understand our policy and we do not discuss this .”
BOinK, the Association of Parents in Childcare, likes the idea of GP Leenstra. “We would think that it would be a good idea if – in good consultation with the parents – paracetamol was given in the childcare service. It is now often the case that parents have to pick up their child from the daycare in a hurry. As soon as the children get a paracetamol at home, they snap If the child feels better at the shelter after giving paracetamol, then a parent should not leave work in a hurry and the child can stay at the shelter, says chairman Gjalt Jellesma to Editie NL.
However, they agree with the general practitioner that it must always be discussed with the parents. “Of course, it’s complicated, because you don’t want to play with children’s health. But I think that the average daycare worker can properly assess whether the discomfort subsides after a paracetamol, or whether the child is so sick that he has to go home. It’s a good idea not to play with children’s health.” Maybe we can make a decision tree, like in the corona pandemic, to decide whether paracetamol can be administered or not.”