** This post is about why I don’t use Calpol, and why I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. For your own family, please do your own research. **

I can safely say I have a hate-hate relationship with Calpol. It works like this: I hate it… and on the other hand I hate it. I have no objections to paracetamol on its own, even though I rarely use medicine, and I absolutely agree that it should have its place on our shelves, as it does serve a valuable purpose. However, in my opinion Calpol does not, and shouldn’t be on the shelves at all.

And here, in brief, is why I don’t use Calpol and will never recommend it. For further information, please see ‘Behind the Label’.

You see, apart from paracetamol, Calpol also contains a few other ingredients. These include:

  • strawberry ‘flavouring’ & carmoisine just say no  - luccawithcheese flickrto produce its pink colour. (Chemical compound E122– suspected carcinogen, banned in Austria, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the US and not recommended for consumption by children) .
  • the paraben preservatives methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218 – suspected hormone disruptor and allergen. Banned in France and Australia) and E122. Note that both these substances have been linked to hyperactivity, and the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group identifies them as likely causes of mysterious and sudden cases of ADHD-like hyperactivity. They too say these substances are not recommended to be consumed by children.
  • Maltitol (a mild laxative)
  • Glycerol (E422 – large quantities can cause headaches, thirst and nausea)
  • Sorbitol (E420 – There are no limits to the intake of E420; however, its use is actually prohibited for infants younger than 1 year of age, as it may cause severe diarrhoea)
  • Propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216 – suspected hormone disruptor and allergen. Not recommended for consumption by children . Possible contact allergen. Not permitted for use in France or Australia)
  • Ethyl parahydroxybenzoate (E214 – suspected hormone disruptor, banned in France and Australia. Not recommended for consumption by children)
  • A thickener – xanthan gum (E415– no known adverse effects)

Unfortunately, Calprofen, the Ipubrofen alternative, is hardly any better.

As adults, we go out of our way to avoid foods with too many of the so-called ‘E Numbers’, and as parents we’re told to provide our chidren with healthy, balanced diets.

And yet, here we are happy to load up our children on E numbers through over-the-counter medicine. Let’s put it another way: our response to a health problem in our child is to feed them potentially dangerous substances that we are specifically advised they shouldn’t have.

From a more international perspective, it greatly disturbs me that here in the UK we are giving our babies a product that includes substances that are actually banned in Austria, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the US, France and Australia. Even more disturbing is that when I asked a GP for an alternative to Calpol or Calprofen without all the additives (as is found in many other countries), he did not know of any, and recommended I speak to the pharmacist. The pharmacist had no idea either and referred me back to the GP.

Side effects of Calpol may include hives, rash, short breath and prolonged or habitual use may lead to liver damage or failure. I gave my daughter Calpol twice and each time her skin broke out in red and patchy blotches. I know she’s not alone in this. There have also been suggestions in the past of a link between Calpol and asthma, hayfever and eczema.

But what if my baby has a fever?

A fever, believe it or not, is a good thing. It is the body’s way of getting rid of an infections. A fever that is too high is dangerous and should be treated (with paracetamol, for example), but administering Calpol for every little thing reduces the body’s natural immunity and prevents the body from fighting off the infection, leading to what seems like a never ending reoccurring cycle of illness.

Angela England has some great advice on treating a mild fever naturally. Some of her suggestions include herbs, essential oils, homeopathy, rest, food and fluids.

It is an exceptionally difficult thing, seeing your child suffering and in pain. But we all have to go through teething and growing pains. We all have to learn to stave off fevers and to extend our pain threshold. It’s part of building our immune system, so long as it is managed sensibly.

Yet leaving all that aside, the most disturbing part of this whole affair is the complete lack of any kind of real alternative. Why is the only option put forward seemingly by the UK’s entire medical community a substance that fills our children’s bodies with things that are documented to have the ability to cause more harm than good?

It is a question I’d love to see answered, but suspect I never will.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I write only my thoughts. I stand by my thoughts and my research and my decisions for myself and my family, but you have to make your own decisions for you and yours. I am not advocating ignoring a fever, but I am asking more parents to stand up and request, no, demand an alternative that isn’t bad for our children.


Calpol – What Every Parent Should Know

  1. An awful lot of paranoid rubbish being spoken on here. How often would anybody give their child Calpol or any other paracetamol suspension? Not often. What quantity of ‘additives’ is in each dose? An incredibly small amount. Kiddy would probably inhale more dangerous chemicals during a 10 minute walk down a busy street. Homeopathy – again and again, *real* studies show no benefit above placebo level. It’s a con, a waste of money. Ultra diluted substances that have been shaking / knocked a certain way? You’re basically talking about voodoo. Please note, I am NOT saying herbal medication is ineffective necessarily, but homeopathy is bunkum. Snake oil. Taking Vit C during a cold has been shown not to reduce the duration of it, although some benefit may be gained if it is taken constantly, as the duration of the cold has been shown to be shorter. Vaccines are good and have prevented millions of premature deaths from the diseases they protect against. If you do not have your child vaccinated you are being dangerously irresponsible. A few mls of Calpol a couple of times a year will not harm your child, and in making them more comfortable it can help them to sleep, which is essential for healing. This post and many of the comments on it fly in the face of years of medical progress and research. There’s no such thing as ‘pure’ paracetamol, whatever form it’s in, it will contain additives, excipients, preservatives. A dangerous, ill-educated post, commented on in the main by ill-educated people. The whole ‘Big Pharma’ conspiracy story is an unfortunate effect of how pharmaceutical companies in the US work, which I admit is often appalling and profit-drive. Trust me when I say the checks and balances in the UK healthcare system mean that the same sort of behaviour just doesn’t roll over here. GPs should be prescribing *everything* by its generic name, so that if cheaper generics are available, that’s what is dispensed. I cannot believe any GP would, as described above, say there’s no alternative to Calpol. There are dozens of generic paracetamol suspensions out there. If you get a prescription for paracetamol suspension and are concerned about the ingredients, discuss it with your pharmacist. They will go out of their way to give you, and obtain as much info as possible, even contacting different manufacturers to check things out if needs be. Any pharmacist worth their salt would anyway. Parents, don’t sweat this small stuff. By all means ask for information, ask for your concerns to be addressed, again any doctor of pharmacist should be happy to talk with you. But don’t just read a few paranoid websites and take their word over health professionals. One final thing, your pharmacist will know a *lot* more about medicines than your doctor. In an ideal world, doctors would be diagnosing, and pharmacists should be prescribing, working together. It’s just not an easy model to run in the community. Take care all. From a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Community Pharmacist for 40 years, PhD in pharmacology too.

  2. Thank you for highlighting these issues. I had absolutely no idea Calpol contained all these nasties. I shall be thinking twice before I give this to my daughter again and I shall be trying to seek out an alternative.

  3. Hi I know this is an old post but Calpol now do a sugar free and colour free version, still strawberry flavoured. Is this better than the original version please?

  4. It started off as an interesting article. However I lost all respect once homeopathy was mentioned as a serious alternative remedy.

  5. Nah…. You know what who are we to judge what’s better for your children? If you never had to deal with a kids that’s ill often and you like to let him suffer a bit on the purpose of immune system by giving him natural remedies well good! I respect that and I also respect the other mom that will give his kid medication because he is more sensitive to pain than others and she doesn’t like to see him in pain… Their is lots of studies behind children medicine and I don’t see you why people make a deal about it. For me with a severely colliqui kid who was hospitalized twice I am tired to see him suffering and giving him calpol relief him and … Relief me too! and natural mdecine doesnt do nothing for him and believe me I tried. But really I think it’s depend on every persons with their own experience. And I believe that if it’s their for so long in the pharmacy … It’s because it did more good than bad

  6. Thank you for the interesting article, it’s getting near “sick season” as the cold weather sits in, and I was concerned about calpol. I must say I’ve rarely used it in my 6 years as a mum, it’s more for when the Littlies are in pain rather than fever. My kids do get sweets sometimes so I don’t worry about the odd e-number in a spoonful of medicine if they will benefit from the dose.

    Just thought I’d point out that those “child proof” caps on calpol are not always child proof. My 3 yr old opened and drank almost an entire bottle while I was in the shower! Terrifying trip to A&E, luckily he was fine. He was sleepy for a few hours and then he went crazy hyper – to be honest it was the sleepiness that had worried me, and the hyperness relieved me, as by that time I knew he was okay.

    I believe that doctors would not recommend an over-the-counter medicine to children if it generally caused more harm than good, but not everything works for every individual, as parents we’ve just got to be aware of that!

  7. Hi I just read this thanks for the info. I try not to give my children any medication unless they have a high fever or are in lots of pain.
    I use a paracetamol and ibuprofen that has no colour(its just white) and much less ingredients in it than the ones you listed.
    The ingredients are Maltitol(which you listed as a mild laxative) Sodium Methyl parahydroxybenzoate(E219) and sodium propyl parahydroxybenzoate(E217). It says each 5ml spoon full contains 120ml if paracetamol.
    I know it still has E numbers in it, but I wonder if its better because its got less than Calpol and maybe more of a plain paracetamol?
    Any thoughts?

  8. Hi
    Would you believe it if I told you that it is now nearly 3 years since you wrote this post and all of those ingredients are still in there.
    Aaron had an adverse reaction last week and thankfully the Doc provided an alternative.
    I have written about it today and linked over to you.
    Thank you so much for writing this thorough post which sprung to mind from my archives the minute it happened.
    Here’s my post:


    you’ll know me as


  9. To balance my other rant…

    I would use a calpol alternative with fewer additives, that is a sensible suggestion. Your case for choice is justifiable. It does not mean i think the additives in calpol are harmful to all kids.

    I suppose there is a calpol alternative. Paracetomol with jam. The choice is there.

    I believe there is a bigger issue here than additives: we need clarity on the effects of analgesics on young children, dosage calculations, age limits (why was Medised age limit suddenly raised for exampe), and limiting chronic use. There’s some serious scientific argument to have there.

  10. This entire article and subsequent argument is littered with polemic, misinformation, bile, propoganda, conspiracy b*****t, and nonsense. It is dangerous and should be removed before it causes harm.

    It does also contain some serious points which deserve sensible consideration:
    Being an E number neither implies bad, nor unnatural.
    Many substances are banned on precautionary basis, in the absence of any conclusive evidence of adverse effects.
    Food, rest and liquids will help anyone, anytime. Good call.
    Homeopathy is still completely lacking any evidence for efficacy.
    If any medicine, or natural alternative, or food, or chemical, or anything, causes an allergic reaction, bad luck, just stop using it. others will still benefit.
    Vaccines, antibiotics and medicines work on two levels, benefitting the individual, but also the population as a whole. If you are able to raise healthy children without using any pharma solutions, it is because the rest of the poulation’s cooperation has created a healthy society for your privileged poppets to live in. You are exploiting their social conscience. Well done.
    Taking such care to control your child’s intake of medicines and vaccines suggests to me that you probably take as much care over their food, exercise, education, sleep … and remarkably they are healthy and disease free. Other children are not so lucky, or their parents take less well informed decisions about their general upbringing. Combined with the rise in popularity of alternative medecines and privileged people opting out of conventinal medical practices, pathogens like TB are now on the rise, putting these less fortunate kids at risk. That is your fault.

    One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how a dose of vitamin C can lead to a common cold or cough clearing up within 2-3 days. Astonishing.
    I suspect having a hot bath in custard would have similar effects.


  11. Thank you for this post. My 5 months old has a terrible rash on his body, GP was not really interested in trying to find the root of the problem, she just gave me steroid cream (!!!). I am trying to get to the bottom of things myself and I started thinking about things I gave him. He is teething so to relieve the pain I gave him calpol…
    I am definitely not ging to give Calpol to him anymore, I just wish there was a safe alternative.

    Even if Calpol did not cause this rash, it is not worth the risk. I was wondering why everytime he got some, I found it really hard to get him to sleep…

  12. interesting read!!!however i trust homeopathy the most and anytime prefer homeopathy on my two year old boy rather give any allopathy medicine.

  13. What a brave and informative post – will be staying away from the stuff now.

    Good on you for coping with all the comments.

    Liska xx

  14. I have 3 children and have never had a problem with calpol, so I will continue to use it, never had a problem with vaccinations either, I never breastfed my children (not for the want of trying) but anyway using calpol, getting vaccines, not breastfeeding have had no affect on my children, all 3 of them are in top set in there classes, they all receive As in all there reports and I believe this is due to the fact that I sit with them as much as I can and make sure they sit and learn and educate themselves through reading etc. I have never had to use calpol more than twice per child as they have never really been sick, my friends baby who was breastfed well I have never seen such a sickly baby in mylife. anyway my point being I think its good that you have put your views and research on calpol for everyone to see and they can now educate themselves on it and come to there own conclusion, my statement however is just based on my experiences and everyone is different.

  15. How dare you make such sweeping statements about such a serious issue!!! To say a fever is a good thing is quite possibly the most ridiculous – let alone dangerous – statement you could make. Since when was calpol recommended for “prolonged or habitual” use, I would sooner question your common sense as a parent then take any of your advice!!!!!! I gave my daughter calpol which I am convinced saved her life (she had pneumonia and 2 secondary infections that were undiagnosed twice by an incompetent doctor, resulting in a terrible fever causing her to pass in and out of consciousness)and I would absolutely give it to her again if I believed she needed it. You don’t even mention that this is a product used for years by millions of people and that allergic reactions are to be expected with any medicine. Common sense is perhaps a term you should familiarise yourself with, I would never use any medicine on myself or my child flippantly. If your ‘advice’ or opinion or what ever you want to call it puts anyone off medicating their children you should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Obviously you have no idea what you are talking about “Sweeping statement” If you know nothing about the immune system then do not comment. If you want to give your child E numbers then you are as stupid as your comment. There is natural alternatives all around you but you are too lazy and stuck in your small minded social idiocy. Calpol does not save lives nor was it designed to too! My child is unvaccinated and has never been ill a day in his life and is far smarter and healthier than his school friends, who by the way get every disease they were vaccinated against! Ever wonder why so many children have all these diseases? all these allergies?? Humans managed to evolve and survive for millions of years but suddenly the doctors need to save us now? deadly Diseases came about when we lived in our own shit and we were highly populated with no natural resources to medicate ourselves. Times have changed. The weeds in your garden have more health benefits than you could ever imagine , why do you think they keep growing back? We were not meant to eat GM foods or take synthetic drugs it don’t take a brain box to work that out!! but you sheeple keep the pharma companies running…

      1. Hmmm, you make an interesting point – I would be very interested to know the mortality rate of children who arent vaccinated… Oh wait, how may children dis from diseases in third world countries??? I didnt breast feed my daughter who by the way is very advanced for her age and on average has been far ‘healthier’ then her peers. Im not for a second saying that I wouldnt prefer an effective and more natural alternative, who wouldnt?!!, but medication and vaccination are two different things. When my daughter was Ill i gave her calpol for her temperature (as it is recommended) which I am convinced saved her from having such a high temperature (which could have been fatal) and I certainly dont need to justify myself to you. The point I was making is that this original article makes its argument from potential damage from the ‘habitual’ use of calpol which is a totally different from using medication in extreme circumstances as it is intended. Vaccination is a totally different area and more fool you if you think your child can naturally fight off deadly infections. We live in a village where a little girl lost both of her legs to meningitis – you try telling her mother that vaccinations are a bad idea. Or you talk to the little girl whose mother died in our local hospital from swine flu because she didnt accept the vaccination while pregnant (which I had) and never got to see her little girl. Sites like this, and by the sounds of it mothers like you, create hysteria and by being so naturally ‘perfect’ and do nothing more then make everyone else feel inadequate. I had the most unnatural birth (emergency c-section), struggled to breastfeed after getting mastitis so switched to formula, She doesnt sleep in my bed, i use wet wipes and products, I balance working and being a mum oh and to add to the list of things i use calpol!!! But i have the most amazing bond with my daughter who was by far the most contented baby in our babygroup of 10, she has never had an allergic reaction to anything (unlike her snotty breastfed friends) and I hope to god will never turn around and tell me i could have saved her from something and didnt. it was ‘pharma companies’ that saved my life when I was in labour, if you are talking about what we are ‘meant’ to do, I was meant to die that day!!! Being a parent comes with enough worry and guilt, without self-righteous people like you spouting about ‘stupid’ parents like me. I will take my chance with a product used by millions, that I was given as a child with no adverse effects, and you take your chance with the extensive list of infections that you can prevent by vaccinating your child. Why dont you just go back to living in a cave and be done with it!!!! And time will tell if you are right, fortunately for you most parents in this country do vaccinate their children. I wonder how easily you would live in other parts of the world.

      2. wow so much passion in ur reply, and i believe u have done a lot of research, keep standing by what u know to be true !

        1. and i think people r not listening to u because they have given their kids too much calpol and r guilty…. because u clearly say if the fever is high then give paracetamol in ur article but most have just skipped that and gone off on one. U know i met a lady at a play group who’s kids look so well and bright and never get ill, – unvaccinated i keep seeing this all the time and parents that had 4 kids say and compared their vaccinated to unvaccinated say the same thing too the difference speaks for itself…
          there needs to be better alternatives out there homeopathy is expensive i so wish i could get it
          we live in a very duplicitous world in current times and the truth will be out v soon as it already is happening… lets keep faith

  16. Fever can cause convulsions. Always ask a doctor before listening to people rattle on online. I would rather my child be hyper than have fits to be honest.

    1. According to the GP Notebook, Calpol is not supposed to be used as a preventative for febrile convulsions. I’ve covered this repeatedly in the comments.

    2. Actually febrile convulsions are not caused by fever alone – they are caused by a sharp rise in temperature. A child sitting with a fever will not normally convulse, it is only when that fever comes on rapidly, increasing by degrees in a very short space of time.

      A fever 99% of the time IS a good thing – it is the bodies natural physiological response to infection. Research has shown that the use of anti-pyretic drugs actually lengthens the period of illness, as the body takes longer to get over the infection.

      The guidence for use of anti-pyretic drugs (such as calpol) is to not use in a child with a fever alone. They should only be used if the child has other signs of illness as well or is agitated through illness.

      1. Oh and forgot to say that because of the rapid rise in temp which causes febrile convulsions calpol wouldn’t even have started to work by the time you begin to notice a rise.

  17. Hi, I am a student who is taking a Health and Social Care course. I’m currently studying medicines and it is true about the E numbers and some of the other stuff, however it takes only pure common sense to realize that Calpol would not be produced if it was harmful, and that if it is harmful in any way then it has safety instructions to follow on the back. I suggest if you have any inquiries about Calpol that you contact them. ALSO if Calpol was proven to be dangerous then surely this would be all over the news. Calpol also will make your children hyper yes, but after being ill its necessary to get more energy and sugars into the body. I obviously do not have children but I still cant believe any of you parents would not give their children the medicine that will stop them suffering. I do not know how you could bear to watch that happen. I may not be a doctor but neither is the person who wrote this silly piece of writing on Calpol. Please please consider doing whats best (and what has been recommended) for your child- giving them medicine! Thanks for reading (if you bothered anyways!)

    1. You’re right. If businesses were allowed to produce things that were potentially harmful to the body, you would be able to buy cigarettes, alcohol and a host of other things freely. Oh. Wait.

      No one is saying allow your child to suffer. We’re saying use the alternatives that are available.

      1. I personally wouldnt take your advice over a qualified doctor and you are wrong to even start suggesting that people should even try different alternatives against qualified medical advice.

        1. That’s entirely fair enough, and I’ve made it very clear that I’m not a qualified doctor. I don’t think I ever suggested people do anything against medical advice however – all I suggested was that they look into it and don’t blindly accept it. Unfortunately there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. My child being an example of one who can’t tolerate Calpol, but the alternatives work exceptionally well for us. Thanks for your comment.

      2. hi,
        what do u think of this for teething for a 6 month old baby pls as an alternative as u mention pillules?

        Arnica 30c Homeopathic / Homeopathy Pillules or Tablet, on ebay i saw this too is this like what u used pls? http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=221032203932&fromMakeTrack=true

        also how about DISPROL (for 3mnth and above babies) if i really must use paracetamol…here are the ingredients- Disprol ingredients: Each tablet contains 120mg of paracetamol Ph Eur, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, maltodextrin, sodium carbonate, sodium saccharin, lime flavour, and magnesium stearate.

    2. You don’t give Calpol after the illness so saying they need sugar and energy after the illness makes no sense. It’s also not the sugar that causes hyperactivity, it’s the methyl parahydroxybenzoate as the writer has said in the article.

    3. I am doctor in chemistry and if you would know how many harmful products you ingest every day you would be terrified. How are the pharmaceutical and food industry able to put/sell products containing potentially harmful chemicals on the market? Simple, they only use a quantity (or at least they say) which is lower than the harmful dose. My question is how would you measure your intake of these harmful products when the market is invaded with products containing them (in food, medication, toiletries)? The industry only cares about its financial income. Though you are not chemists you will know that mercury is quite toxic. Therefore why is present in most vaccines? Why are parabens, which are carcinogens, present in mouthwash for example? Why nitrites which are also harmful present in meat products? Because they enhance flavour and preserve better etc. and therefore that will bring more profit to the market (for example look at those yogurts which last for months). To answer question about E numbers there are very few E-numbers which are natural products. Most of them are NASTY chemicals!!!! I wish English was my first language and be able to write more clearly about these things. I read carefully everything I buy in the supermarkets, though sometimes I feel that is the hardest thing to avoid harmful chemicals, because they are used in everything. I worry about the health of our children!

  18. Hi I was reading your blog about calpol and I was wondering have you ever used disprol? The tablet paracetamol that dissolves in water/cordial especially made for children aged 3months+ ?
    Does this contain any ‘added’ ingredients?
    Zoey x

    1. Disprol ingredients: Each tablet contains 120mg of paracetamol Ph Eur, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, maltodextrin, sodium carbonate, sodium saccharin, lime flavour, and magnesium stearate.

      Hi i looked at this and perhaps u r right and this is a better alternative? for very occasional use…
      i think the lady also said Pillules wud help in instances of teething like i am going through….

  19. I also agree about fever paranoia! I don’t believe in trying to take a temperature down to the normal range when my daughter is ill. I let her run with it until it reaches around 39 and then I give a paracetamol suppository just to ensure she gets some sleep which is healing in itself and is a bit more comfortable. A fever is helpful to the body and not dangerous in itself unless it gets very high, but I think it terrifies a lot of parents!

    1. my baby is 6mnths old with teethin probs…. which paracetamol do u use pls?? and is disprol by any chance? is it more pure paracetamol?
      thanks 🙂

      1. Go to your chemist and ask them about paracetamol without any additives etc. Or suppositories. They can advise you. Alternatively try Ashton And Parson’s that’s amazing too. Good luck!

  20. An ideal alternative is paracetamol suppositories. I’ve just given my child calpol instead of a suppository which we use when she has a very high temp or cannot sleep for pain, and she has gone completely hyper!. I had no idea that it could cause this and only stumbled across this googling it. Suppositories have never caused ill effects and they may not be perfect but don’t contain all the e numbers and colours!

    1. I’m sorry! I know how hard it is to deal with a sick HYPERACTIVE baby. I really feel for you. In my experience – with my daughter, at least – homoeopathic Belladonna works the best. It rids her of a fever in a matter of an hour. Different babies react differently, and some do better with Pulsatilla so it’s worth testing, but that would be my advice. I agree though. We’ll never touch the pink goo again!

  21. wow, this post is truly informative, and by reading everybody’s comments i certainly learned a lot from all of you. thanks for sharing!

  22. Great post- you have outlined exactly what I suspected from these products. I am disappointed that alternatives without the E numbers seem not to be available on this side of the Atlantic. Our son is just starting teething and we’ve been told countless times to have Calpol on standby. My husband went to buy it today and although he asked for the sugar-free brand we were disappointed that it sounds just as bad as the sugar version (or worse I suspect!). Until parents start demanding a healthier alternative it will not become available here. Luckily our son isn’t too bad yet and I am trying natural methods, frozen rings etc and taking chamomile myself so he gets the effect through my milk. Thank you for confirming my gut feeling on this!

    1. @CanuckMuminIreland, Thanks for your comment. You can give your son chamomile directly. My daughter was on the pillules from four months as she had a dreadful time with teething. I would give it to him straight – every 30 mins for the first three doses, according to my Helios Nursery Kit instructions. Good luck! It really does get easier.

  23. I am also bit confused with CALPOL because my baby got fevered since 2 days and doctor suggested to continue the dose 1.4 ML after 4 hours while fever temperature goes down and sudden it active/ I am bit confused !!



  25. For what it’s worth – just some comments from a qualified paediatrician here…

    1. Sure, Calpol contains some E-substances, so do most things we consume.
    2. But also – it is not as if you are giving Calpol 4 times per day, 365 days a year. Sunlight can ALSO cause cancer – if you are exposed to it constantly.
    3. Yes, Calpol etc can cause liver failure – if you ingest the entire bottle! Drinking too much water can also kill you – if you drink too MUCH.
    4. Fever in an infant below 3 months is ALWAYS an emergency and should be checked out.
    5. Fever above 38°C should be treated in all children between ±6m-5y with PARACETAMOL (ACETAMINOPHEN) at least – they are at risk for febrile seizures.
    Have any of you SEEN a child with cerebral palsy due to brain damage from seizures?? But yes, fever is indeed the body’s way to deal with infection. So is pus formation – which, in spite of being a natural process, can also potentially kill you.
    6. Remember that you as a parent don’t actually have the right to let your child suffer from a fever while effective treatment is available.
    7. If your child does seem to have an adverse effect on ANY medication, STOP using it and ask your doctor for an alternative.
    8. Lastly, we as paediatricians are advocates for child health – if Calpol was found to pose proven danger to children, it would have been banned already and none of us would use it – for the same reason we stopped using aspirin in young children long ago.

    1. @LBL, Hi LBL, thanks for your comment. I appreciate the time you’ve taken. I’m going to respond to each of your comments with MY VIEWS. As I’ve said, I’m not a doctor, so I can’t argue you on that level, but I can respond with why we’ve chosen what we have.

      1) Yes, most things we do, do. But most things 3 month olds to probably one or two year olds do not (or at least should not!)

      2) You’re right. Most of us don’t give Calpol for everything. But some do. I’ve heard about parents who give it before car journeys to make the kids sleep. Read through the comments in the thread and you’ll see some people sadly, do. In fact a girl in my post natal group went through 2 – 3 bottles a month. It doesn’t help that GPs, Paeds and ER doctors recommend it for everything – in my experience, anyway. (As a first time mum with no family to support me, I had my daughter at GPs and ER 3 times in her first six months, and in each instance we were told to give her Calpol. In one instance the walk-in clinic GP didn’t bother to look up from his phone once during the consultation, until I asked him for a Calpol alternative. More on that later. Our GP didn’t bother to even examine my daughter. Only the ER doctor bothered to check her chest, at least.)

      3) See the point above. Also, my problem was more with the fact that my child under 1 was being forcefed (by the walk in clinic nurse) Calpol, when at least one of the ingredients is not recommended in children under 1.

      4) Absolutely. I agree it should.

      5) I’m sure you’re familiar with the GP notebook? According to that antipyretic agents do not prevent febrile convulsions and should not be used specifically for this purpose. (http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/simplepage.cfm?ID=x20070613192949295600)

      My husband suffered Febrile Convulsions as a child, so yes, we’re aware of it, have looked out for it, and have been prepared for it.

      As I’ve said before – I have no problem with PARACETAMOL, if that’s what you choose to use. I have a problem with CALPOL. I have a problem with the fact that in other countries, i.e. Australia and South Africa (and apparently Spain) you can get a clear paracetamol suspension, but not in the UK.

      6) Absolutely! Who would WANT their child to suffer. It MUST be treated. It doesn’t HAVE to be treated, with CALPOL though.

      7) Yes. Which is what got me to here. My daughter went bright red with eczema after using Calpol. I was stupid and didn’t make the connection. She went bright red the second time. I clicked. The ‘ask your doctor’ part of your comment, I’m sorry to say, but it made me scoff. I DID ask the doctor for an alternative. He looked up from his phone, rolled his eyes, shrugged his shoulder and said ‘ask the pharmacist’. I went to the pharmacist who then showed me the sugar free version. Not what I wanted. He couldn’t help me, and told me to ask my doctor. Understand that in the context of a stressed out, strung out mother who doesn’t know why her child wont stop crying (turned out, btw, that her first teeth popped out a few days later, at four months old. She’s suffered with every single tooth that’s come out.)

      8) I appreciate that YOU as a paediatrician might be an advocate for child health. Unfortunately I’ve also worked in the NHS for many years, and I do not believe that to be true for everyone. I also know that NHS (I’m not sure where you are based) doctors spend so much time on compulsory training and PDP that time for following up on and reading research and latest findings is very, very limited. I do not agree that things that are found to pose danger wouldn’t be used. Yes. Eventually they would not. But it takes a lot of damage to get to that point. Just last year’s case in Australia with the flu vaccine, for example (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7918351/Flu-jab-linked-to-fits-in-under-fives-officials.html) it took two WEEKS for them to stop vaccinating the children with this vaccine.

      Just look at the FDA’s annual drug recall list. Unfortunately the results and the EFFECTS of Calpol, ESPECIALLY in babies, we can’t really tell, because THEY can’t TELL US. However, as I’ve written above, they are linked to ADHD-like behaviour.

      I’ll say again: my problem is not with Paracetamol. It is with Calpol (and to a lesser extent, Nurofen for Children)

      I hope I have responded in a way you have seen as respectful to your profession and your opinion. In my view, based on the medical interaction I had during my pregnancy and in the first year of my daughter’s life, GP’s, Peads and so on are human too and while their career my be on the line in their/your day to day decisions, my child’s life and health and future lies in my decisions, so I’d rather find other ways that I believe are less potentially harmful.

      Thanks again for your comment.

    1. @WendyT, cant say I know much about crystals or snake oils, but having successfully used specifically homeopathic remedies, I’m quite comfortable sharing those. Thanks for the comment.

  26. Luschka, I love your blog, your thoughts and ideas, your willingness to research and find a different solution, going by your instincts. I’ve recommended your blog to so many people now! Could you please tell me how you use Belladonna and Pulsatilla? Thank you.

    1. Hi Carolina, the ones we use are tablets that you dissolve, preferably under the tongue, but that is hard to get a toddler to do, so I just put it in her mouth and hope for the best. I don’t want to specifically recommend one brand over another, as I don’t have experience in different brands, but we use the Helios Nursery Kit which comes with an explanation of what situations to use different pills in. I also find their remedies page quite useful. I hope that helps, otherwise email me with more specific questions, okay? Happy to help where I can!

  27. It’s always nice to find other parents who avoid calpol. It’s almost taboo to say we don’t use it – sometimes the look in the eyes of friends and family implies we are not doing what’s best for our son by daring to forego this “wonder drug” in favour of alternative medicine.

    My son will be one year old next week and has never had a drop of the stuff. When his teething pain has been at a peak, I’ve been sorely tempted, but I simply can’t put that horrible chemical cocktail in his mouth and believe that it will help him.

    We use Nelson’s Teetha powder here and it really does make a difference during a sudden attack of teething pain. For everyday pain relief, he wears an amber necklace and has done since around 3 months.

    1. @Becky, thanks for the comment Becky. I must admit, I cringe a little when people say they use it. And then when I’ve explained why we don’t, and they say ‘oh well, to each their own, I cringe even more!’.

      If you ever have need anything stronger than Nelson’s try Ashton & Parsons – its’ german chamomile instead of Roman (which Nelson’s is) and is a little stronger. It works really well.

      Kyra had some Calpol, before I realised it was that causing her eczema all over! Now we have a bottle of Nurofen on hand for ’emergencies’ but we’re still on the first bottle we ever bought and it has plenty more in it. It’s hit and miss too – I’ve known her to go energizer bunny after having it (it also has LOADS of crap it in, but not AS bad as calpol)

      And I’m quite disturbed to see Calpol as sponsors of Cybermummy too. 🙁

  28. P.S The soluble paracetamol tht the GP recommended ALSO has E420 (sorbitol) in it and our girl is now getting hyperactive with that too! BEWARE!!

    1. @Wendy, Thanks Wendy. I’m surprised at sorbitol causing hyperactivity, but it’s not impossible. It’s in a lot of ‘diet’ products, and can definitely cause diahorea though!

      1. @Luschka,

        Actually that makes complete sense – she writhes around, stand and twist and doesn’t want to lie down and settle to sleep if she has it before bed. She’s always had a sensitive gut and there has been a ?of silent relux too so if it stirs up her bowels and makes them more active, she’s not going to like it much and it’s obviously making her restless and unsettled and then she’s overtired with the sensations keeping her awake which then becomes a problem in itself!!

  29. Our 10 1/2 month old daughter has suffered terribly over the last 2 1/2 months cutting 7 teeth (she now has 9) in a short space of time with 2 bouts of gastro and a nasty nappy rash/burn in the midst of it all. We started using Calpol as recommended and initially it seemed okay but after afew doses she started refusing it. Given no alternative and a high temperature, I put it in her formula but she was wise enough to know it was there, and recognise it is no good and started to refuse that as well. I had noticed she’d been quite energetic/hyperactive after having it and tested her on it using Kinesiology muscle based testing and immediately it showed she was reacting to it so we stopped it and saw the first few teeth in this bout through with other comfort measures however the teething pain has gradually become quite severe as she is not cutting molars. I spoke to the GP who recommended soluble paracetomol on her milk which again was okay to begin with but is now also causing hyperactive symptoms. The GP recommended a generic ibuoprofen with minimal E numbers however after a few doses of this, she is also reacting to it. I can’t believe that they are willing to put so many artificial colours and flavours etc. into medicine for babies. The GP seemed quite aware of this as an issue but there are no real alternatives available save for the soluble paracetamol. Our girl has a strong radar for these articifical additives which is great but also limits your options when pain and fever are high. It is great that this detail is made available on the web as I think this is a more common problem than people realise. When I have spoken to people about Evie’s reaction, many mums have said ‘oh, my child seemed to go hyper as well’ but people are led to believe that it is the pain doing that, rather than the additives.

    1. @Wendy, Thanks for your comment Wendy. It sounds like your daughter, like mine, is super sensitive to these products. While we’ve not found an alternative, really, we do use Ashton & Parsons, have an amber necklace, and so on (I wrote a post about alternatives for teething problems) which has helped.

      Something we’ve never done yet, but would for a fever, is using Belladona or Pulsatilla, so you could look into those.

      We have, at times when I’ve not been able to cope any more (note, my failure, not hers) used Nurofen for Children, because it has a lot LESS yucky stuff, but I have noticed that it STILL causes hyperactivity SOMETIMES – NOT ideal at 3am.

      As for “I can’t believe that they are willing to put so many artificial colours and flavours etc. into medicine for babies.” I absolutely agree – we’re warned off it for sweets, foods and so on, but it’s first on the recommend list in medicines? It makes me angry, really. If it was something for adults, there’s be a fuss made about it, but since it’s ‘just’ for children and babies, they get away with it!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

  30. Hi

    Thank you for highlighting these issues. I had absolutely no idea Calpol contained all these nasties. I shall be thinking twice before I give this to my daughter again and I shall be trying to seek out an alternative.

    from kim at mymummyreviews.blogspot.com

  31. Hi and thanks so much for this info. Me, my husband and my 10 month old baby were on holiday in the UK. We live in the Middle East and my daughter took unwell due to cold temp in UK. Cough, runny nose and temp. Like all new Mums I gave Calpol as the recommended medicine. To cut a long story short my daughter became unrecognisable for three days. It was so scary. She would not sleep or eat. She was hyperactive to the point of banging her head off the wall and wooden head board. She literally rolled around the entire night.She had nose bleeds and a horrible rash over her entire body. It was the most horrible sight I have ever seen in my life. When I researched Calpol I was horrified. I felt like I had poisoned my daughter. I know she might be the only one from thousands who would take such a reaction but I will never give her any such medicines again. My advice… be careful.

    1. @Jacqueline, Hi Jacqueline. Wow! That is a pretty serious reaction! My daughter had a rash and serious hyperactivity, but nothing as bad as that! I am shocked, but not surprised! I am also really glad you researched it and found your answers! I hope all has been well since!

  32. Clicked through to this entry from the one you’ve got up right now – WOAH. Lots of food for thought; it’s odd that every doctor and nurse recommends Calpol. Like it’s the most baby friendly thing in the world. Thanks for writing this…I’m off to research!

      1. @Luschka, We’ve got Nurofen too for an inflammation thing that happened, but we were specifically told that Calpol was more gentle and had no contraindications!! I would suppose Nurofen could cause probs for kids with asthma? Spooky stuff. I’m digging out the teething necklaces now….heh.

  33. Oh lordy, thats AWFUL! Thanku so much for this, its just a shame the great powers that be are so hush hush about something so important!!! X


  35. Just catching up on your news on this rainy day in London!

    We don’t even give Paracetamol, although have never had a temperature above 38.5. If we had a higher temperature, I would consider liquid paracetamol. I agree with you that a fever is a good thing and it’s the body’s way of expelling the nasties.

    The cult of Calpol is in full swing in the UK – very odd that you can’t buy a paracetamol suspension easily.

    However, I don’t wish to judge parents who decide to give their kids Calpol and things with E numbers, particularly sweeties. I see many a happy child sucking on a lollipop full of E numbers. Heck, I grew up eating cubes of jelly, spoons of honey and munching Haribo and I didn’t turn out too bad?!
    .-= Lorraine & Bombi´s last blog ..Our favourite ready meals for toddlers and children =-.

  36. See why I want to live in Norway!! They are really stringent on what is sold to the citizens especially to babies.
    I’ve decided to do my baby shopping over there when the time comes.
    .-= Als Simmons´s last blog ..My Tilted Chandelier =-.

    1. @Als Simmons, Lol. I must admit, I never had a look to see what you can and can’t buy there, although I did see shelves full of formula in many of the shops, so not convinced that they always get it right either… Either way, at least you’re well prepared when your time comes! 🙂

  37. Hmmm very much food for thought, thank you for enlightning me. I had a very scary time once with my son, where his fever got so high, he had a febrile convulsion and an ambulance had to be called, he was handed to the paremedics who prompty dosed him up with infant liquid paracetomel, presumably similar to calpol etc, though different generic name, and I am afraid I didn’t, and probably wouldn’t again, god fobid it happen again, say, Ohooo hang on let me just look at the label, Of course I appreciate that was adire situation and all I could think of was my son being alright. But I shall definately think more about what I am giving him next time If and when reach for the bottle.

    1. I am sorry you had such a frightening experience. As I said before, the problem is not with paracetomel, but with all the enumbers, colourant and additives in Calpol. As with most things in life, taking it once in an emergency is probably not going to do any major harm, or certainly no harm worse than the alternative of not taking paracetamol.

      The problem isn’t the use of paracetamol – it’s those people who give their children Calpol for everything. And it’s also wider than that – it’s also a problem I have with plenty of other ‘baby’ products. We give them anything that has a smiling baby on the packaging, then we wonder why there’s such a rise in asthma, eczema and allergies and other conditions later in life.

      Thanks for stopping by and thank you for leaving your thoughts.

    2. Hi, I just checked alternatives on medicine.org.uk and the liquid paracetamol infusion that they give intravenously is fine, no parabens. And they also list Disprol tablets as not containing parabens, and another alternative is Alvedon suppositories. This is not as scary as you think, very commonly done in Europe!

  38. Very useful information, thanks Luschka. I think the important lesson here is that if you’re looking at labels and are conscious of what food and additives you wish to feed your child then don’t stop at just food have a very good look at medicine. We wouldn’t put alcohol in our child’s bottles or cups, yet many infants medications contain alcohol. I have never bought or used Calpol (and never will), I always had paracetamol on hand, and have many other natural alternatives. For babies and toddlers you can also look at suppositories, because they do not have to taste or look appealing in anyway they normally just contain the core medicine (such as paracetamol), it is also better if your little one is nauseous or reluctant to feed. If you’re not good at understanding the ingredients, then steering clear of anything with an unnaturally bright colour is an extremely good start, I have yet to find anything that is coloured like Calpol and also healthy. I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that any illness be untreated, but we definitely need to be more aware of any potential side-effects and issues that may be caused by what we are choosing to do, whether that choice be traditional medication, natural medication or no treatment at all…

    1. @NickyJ, Absolutely right Nicky. If you feed your children sweets loaded with e-numbers daily, then a medicine with a few in isn’t going to make a difference! You are ‘fortunate’ because in South Africa you get a child friendly paracetamol that we don’t get here – and that’s really the cause of my frustration.

      As I said above, neither the doctor nor the pharmacist could offer me an alternative.

      Thanks for your tips above, and thanks for commenting!

  39. The main concern with fever is the chances of having ‘fever fits’. However it has been shown that they are usually genetic ie if you or your sibling had ‘fever fits’ then so can your child, right up to the age of 12 yrs.
    We in the medical side treat the ‘herd’ not the individual.I personally have received a death threat because I refused to give an unsettled child Paracetamol.I generally offer it to the mother so that she can relax sufficiently to spend time with her child and ‘nurse ‘ the little one

    1. @nana colleen, Thanks for the comment. I know you mean ‘nurse’ in the literal sense, rather than ‘feeding’ as this is something we’ve spoken about before. I am glad you agree with my assessment of the situation though – as I’ve said above, we are aware of ‘fever fits’ as M used to suffer them, but we trust in her natrual immunity and in herbal remedies. I just wish someone could explain why we still use it here!

  40. Very useful information, much of which I agree with. However, I have a friend who felt the same way as you, they left their child with a slight fever. They ended up in A & E after she suffered a febrile convulsion. Medicines like Calpol should be used sparingly, but we must be very careful that our judgement is not clouded. In small children a fever is a fever and should be treated in my opinion at least, as the side effects can be very much worse than a few E numbers.

    On another note, in these litigious times it may be worth considering writing some sort of disclaimer to go with this post as you can never be sure if someone has read the whole thing properly!

    It’s great to see some considered thoughts and research 🙂
    .-= zooarchaeologist´s last blog ..Inspired Ideas or Children are the Mother of all Invention =-.

    1. @zooarchaeologist, On the first paragraph – at no point have I said NOT to treat a fever. I’ve just said to treat it with something else. I definitely don’t think a child should just left to fight it themselves, but I don’t think they need their problems compounded with the things that could come with those E-numbers.

      Secondly, point taken, and I will add something to the article. Thanks for looking out for me! 🙂

  41. I do agree with you that Calpol has some rather questionable items included in it, however when they do not offer an alternative and you have a child as we do that suffers with Rigors and Febrile Convulsions we do have to give our child Calpol, Nurofen or some form of paracetamol and we have to give it quick. I would love another alternative, but there is not one and the Calpol etc hit the fever so that is what our child has.

    1. @Kerry, I am not sure what my husband had as a child, but I believe he also had fever convulsions, so it is something we’re keeping an eye out for with our daughter. I am not a doctor, so I can’t advise you, but were it my daughter, I would look in to other options and see how fast they work (i.e. beladonna & pulsatilla) and perhaps ask my doctor about an alternative or alternative dosages or so on. These things DO exist – they are found and used in other countries.

      But in the end, we each have to do what we feel right for our own children, and I intend no judgement on those who use Calpol – I just think its important for people to know what’s in it, as the more people request a cleaner paracetamol alternative, the more likely we’ll be to get one! Does that make sense?

  42. Oh, they’re just as bad here. Nothing good in there. Just like that when I do NEED it I can get the dye free kind.
    .-= Dara´s last blog ..Magical, Mystical, Mathematical, Mythical: The Power of Three =-.

  43. I’m in Canada so I know the ingredients are different.
    We do notice, howver, that any of those flavoured/coloured ibuprofen or acetaminophen medications cause hyperactivity in our kids.
    However, luckily, we are able to get dye free ones. This is all we will use and only when the child’s fever is over 101. Otherwise it’s sleep, cool baths, rubbing with witchhazel for aches and pains.
    Obviously, the amount they take is very small so they aren’t getting completely overloaded with nasty non-medicinal ingredients. But some parents give their child a dose or two every day while teething or during a 10 day long cold. And that has got to build up.

    1. @Dara, I tried to look in to the differences in the products in the US/Canada vs the UK when I was researching this, but it got a bit big and long, so I focused on what I knew, but I must tell you that the same companies that make Calpol, make most of the others too. I would definitely look in to the ingredients though, just to be sure!

  44. Thanks for the information. Quite aside from the fact it’s clearly not good for them, my daughter doesn’t actually like it. if there was a plain, clear, non flavoured alternative it could be put in with some milk and they wouldn’t notice it. I don’t use it because she won’t take it and to be honest, she responds better to things like homeopathic teething powders.
    .-= Itsamummyslife´s last blog ..Insult my children and feel my wrath! (& Little Film Club prompts) =-.

    1. @Itsamummyslife, Fortunately mine doesn’t seem to like it either! I think if children have been plied with drugs from before birth, homeopathic medicine might not have much impact, or impact soon enough, which is perhaps why people sometimes dont feel it works. But that’s just my opinion. Another thing is that people don’t know how homeopathic things work – i.e. caffeine neutralises any homeopathic medicine, so give teething powders and coffee/coke/chocolate will negate the teething powders.

      I agree though – paracetamol without all the ‘additions’ would have me resting easier.

  45. I absolutely agree. When they are at their lowest we ply them with poisons. We have Medinol which is by no means innocent but has fewer of the nasties most notably E122. In Spain we used to be able to buy clear paracetamol suspension – no flavours, no colours but last time we went it had E122 added for what reason I do not know. If only the big pharmaceuticals would realise they could knock the market leaders off the top spot if they produced something without the E numbers!

    1. @Kat, I believe from my mother in law that the flavours were introduced because people complained that their children weren’t liking the flavours, but I really think if enough of us kick up a stink and stop buying it, they will listen – they always do, after the fact. Look at the whole BPA thing

  46. Wow, I’m so glad I’ve read that! I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked Calpol. My step daughter’s mother dishes Calpol out for any minor complaint, even if SD feels sad!! It’s really difficult when she stays with us because we won’t let her have it. I’m going to let her read this, hopefully she’ll understand why it’s not good to keep taking it.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Mr Nobody strikes again! =-.

    1. @Andrea, Thank you Andrea, for your encouraging comments. I hope that it makes an impact too. I find it sad that some children get given all sorts of labels, such as ADHD, when it’s possible that we’re feeding them the disease! I’m very happy to note that my daughter doesn’t like it either (and a nurse didn’t believe me when I told her, but did after my daughter spat it all out all over her when she tried to administer it to her!)

  47. I do agree with you but really hope people reading this read the whole article and not just the first paragraph. For those raging temperatures & serious fevers it is essential but for minor ailments & discomfort it isn’t.

    1. @Luke, Thanks for the comment Luke. I also hope people read the whole thing, as partial information can be dangerous! I don’t agree, however, that Calpol is essential for fevers. Paracetamol in its clear, unflavoured form can be found in other countries, so why not here. That aside, as Jessica said above, Belladonna and Pulsatilla are both superb for fevers. There are alternatives, it just requires people to do a little research and take some personal responsibility.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts tho!

  48. Eek! This is completely scary! Thanks for this information! Personally, I really try to steer clear of Calpol and Nurofen (although I do use them if H’s fever gets unmanageable) and instead use a lot of homeopathic remedies (like Belladonna for fever and Chamomilla and Pulsatilla for teething). I never really trusted homeopathy – until I used it with Henry! Amazing stuff if done right. 🙂 THANK YOU for this great information!! Will really make me think twice the next time I reach for the Calpol. 🙂

    1. @Jessica St. Clair, It’s a pleasure. As I said in the beginning, paracetamol has a place but really, Calpol shouldn’t. I didn’t ever think much about homeopathy either, until I tried it as a last resort and it changed my life!I agree with you, when done right, its fabulous!

Comments are closed.