Paediatric Prescribing


These top-tips from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) prescribing tool will help you improve your prescribing. We have also added some tips. Prescribing errors sadly remain common, in all grades of doctors. Good prescribing ensures that the right patient gets the right medicine at the right dose at the right time for the right reason. This takes practice. It is not surprising therefore that prescribing is being included in most medical school OSCE practical examinations.

General Points

  1. Use a black pen, write legibly and add name and contact details (bleep and extension if relevant)
  2. Complete patient name, date of birth, hospital number, ward and Consultant
  3. NHS number (in the UK) is used in preference of hospital number
  4. Include ward name, speciality and hospital site
  5. Check weight is appropriate for age of child and is dated
  6. Complete and sign the allergy box whether or not there is an allergy
  7. Use current British National Formulary for Children
  8. Check and use local prescribing guidelines (e.g. antibiotics and sedation)
  9. Prescribe sensible and practical doses of medicine, which can easily be measured. (This will require checking the concentration of some drugs and with the nurses regarding practicality of dose administration)
  10. Always check the suitability of the chosen dosage form for each child
  11. Familiarise yourself with the Trust's Prescription Chart
  12. Always check whether the child is already taking any medications
  13. Concordance; inform the child and/or parents of any prescribing changes you make



Dosage Units:



Drug Conversions

It is important to understand drug conversions to facilitate safe prescribing.

  • 1 gram                        =          1000 milligrams

  • 1 milligram                 =          1000 micrograms

  • 1 microgram              =          1000 nanograms