An assessment of parents' knowledge and awareness regarding paracetamol use in children: a cross-sectional study from Palestine
Publication Type
Original research

Background: Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is one of the most common antipyretic and analgesic over-the-counter (OTC) medicines administered to children due to its efficacy, safety, and availability in many pharmaceutical forms, including suppositories, syrup, and drops. Parents frequently administer the wrong dose of paracetamol by mistake for their children, as reported by many previous studies. We aimed in this study to assess parents' knowledge, attitudes, and practice regarding paracetamol dosing and toxicity, as well as their awareness regarding paracetamol-containing products.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that targeted parents of children seeking healthcare services at primary health care centers in the Nablus area in the West Bank, Palestine. We used questionnaire-based interviews with parents for data collection.

Results: A total of 300 parents were included in the study. Most of the caregivers surveyed were (87%) females (mothers). About half the parents (50.9%) reported previously using paracetamol as an antipyretic in children under the age of six. A quarter (25.4%) preferred the syrup forms, while 33.8% preferred the suppository dosage form. Medical personnel was the primary source of information for half the caregivers (51.2%). The mean knowledge score about paracetamol was 2.1 (SD = 1.4) out of 6, and the median was 2.0 with an interquartile range of 1.0-3.0. Two hundred seventy-four (95.5%) of the participants scored less than 80% and were considered to have insufficient knowledge. Only 50.9% of parents recognized that paracetamol overdose could result in serious harm.

Conclusions: We found a serious lack of knowledge regarding paracetamol dosing, administration, and potential toxicity among Palestinian parents. We recommend raising awareness regarding this problem among healthcare providers and authorities and working on plans that aim to provide caregivers with accurate and adequate information on dosing, formulation, side effects, and other aspects of paracetamol use, as well as developing effective educational plans targeting healthcare providers, as well as the public.

Keywords: Acetaminophen; Awareness; Children; Knowledge; Palestine; Paracetamol; Parents; Toxicity.

BMC Public Health
Publisher Country
United States of America
Thomson Reuters
Impact Factor
Publication Type
Online only