26/01/2015 11:51 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Doctor's Calpol Overdose Warning: 'It Looks More Like A Milkshake Than Medicine'


Children are at risk of overdosing on Calpol because it looks and tastes too good, a leading doctor has warned.

The strawberry-flavoured pink formula is a household brand, used by millions of parents to comfort feverish and out-of-sorts children.

But doctor and author Dr Max Pemberton told the Mail on Sunday that it looks 'more like a milkshake than a medicine' and warned that children could be getting 'mixed messages' about the potential dangers of what's in the formula.

He said: "The introduction of child-proof tops and blister packs for pills mean it is harder for children to get hold of medicines these days, but these figures revealing the number of children admitted to hospital show that, sadly, some still do.

"With a medicine like Calpol, the bright packaging and appealing taste means a young child could mistake it for sweets.

"The purple packaging for the Infant Suspension reminds you of Cadbury's chocolate, and the medicine itself looks more like milkshake.

"How can we expect a child to understand that something that looks and tastes so nice actually has the potential to do harm if they have too much?"

Calpol's Infant Suspension Formula, suitable for babies aged two months and over, is pink and strawberry-flavoured, while the Six Plus formula is orange-flavoured and coloured.

The warning came as the newspaper revealed that nearly five children a day were admitted to hospital with accidental overdoses of over-the-counter painkillers in one year alone.

Concerns have previously been raised that children are given too much paracetamol by GPs and parents who do not realise there are doses in other branded products, such as Lemsip.

Although perfectly safe within the recommended doses, paracetamol is one of the easiest drugs on which to overdose.

Unlike with other drugs, patients do not need much more than the advised amount before it starts to cause problems.

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