How to give your child suppositories

This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital describes how to give your child medicine in suppository form (into the bottom). 
If you have any questions about your child’s suppositories, please ask your family doctor (GP) or local community pharmacist. 

What to do

Remember – suppositories should only be inserted into the bottom
  1. Sit your child on the toilet to see if they need a poo. 
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Before unwrapping the suppository, warm it in your hands for a minute. 
  4. Remove the foil or plastic wrapping. 
  5. Get your child into any of these positions to give the suppository:
  • Squatting down
  • Laying on one side with the lower leg straight and the upper one bent
  • Standing up with one leg raised
  1. Holding the suppository with the rounded end upwards, gently but firmly push it into your child’s bottom as instructed. 
  2. Push it in far enough that it does not slip out again.
  3. Ask your child to close their legs and clench their buttocks together for a few minutes – you might need to hold them together. 
  4. Wash your hands again. 
Note: If your child needs a second suppository, wait until the first has dissolved before inserting the second one. 

Storing the suppositories safely

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children. 
  • Keep the suppositories in their original packaging in a cool, dark place according to the instructions on the label. 
  • Read the instructions on the label and only use the suppositories as instructed. 
  • Always check the expiry date of the medicine before you give it to your child.


Compiled by: 
the Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date: 
April 2020


Please read this information sheet from GOSH alongside the patient information leaflet (PIL) provided by the manufacturer. If you do not have a copy of the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet please talk to your pharmacist. A few products do not have a marketing authorisation (licence) as a medicine and therefore there is no PIL.

For children in particular, there may be conflicts of information between the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet (PIL) and guidance provided by GOSH and other healthcare providers. For example, some manufacturers may recommend, in the patient information leaflet, that a medicine is not given to children aged under 12 years. In most cases, this is because the manufacturer will recruit adults to clinical trials in the first instance and therefore the initial marketing authorisation (licence) only covers adults and older children.  

For new medicines, the manufacturer then has to recruit children and newborns into trials (unless the medicine is not going to be used in children and newborns) and subsequently amend the PIL with the approved information. Older medicines may have been used effectively for many years in children without problems but the manufacturer has not been required to collect data and amend the licence. This does not mean that it is unsafe for children and young people to be prescribed such a medicine ‘off-licence/off-label’. However, if you are concerned about any conflicts of information, please discuss with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.