How to give your child suppositories

This page provides information on how to give your child suppositories and how to look after the medicine.

Instructions on giving your child a suppository

Remember – suppositories should never be swallowed.

  • Sit your child on the toilet to see if they need a poo.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Warm the suppository in your hands for a minute.

  • Remove the foil or plastic wrapping.

  • Get your child into any of these positions to give the suppository:
    • squatting down
    • lying on one side with one leg straight and the other bent
    • standing up with one leg raised
  • Gently but firmly push the suppository into your child’s bottom as instructed.

  • Push it in far enough that it does not slip out again.

  • Ask your child to close their legs and hold your child’s buttocks together for a few minutes.

  • Wash your hands again.

If your child needs a second suppository, wait until the first has dissolved before inserting the second.

Looking after your child’s suppositories

  • Always check the expiry date of the medicine before giving it to your child.

  • Keep the suppositories in a cool, dark place according to the label.
  • Read the instructions on the label and only use the suppositories as directed.
  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

If you have any questions about your child’s suppositories, please ask your family doctor (GP) or local community pharmacist.

Compiled by: 
the Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date: 
January 2013


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.