The Calpol Controversy


When you’ve got a little baby at home, you start to think like a mad scientist. Each day I reinvent normal household items to have magical powers; a nappy that can actually contain THOSE explosions, a dummy that jumps into baby’s mouth when they wake at night, bed sheets that auto wash when covered with more than one bodily fluid, a pause button that allows you to drink just one hot cup of tea a day.
Maybe I have too many waking hours to think sensibly anymore.

But there’s one thing that already has magical baby powers which I think is getting too much stick at the moment; Calpol. Doctors say that Calpol is too sweet and looks like milkshake – it appears that babies actually like it. Here’s the original story in the Mail on Sunday but it’s also going widespread at the moment.

When I think of Calpol, I picture my screaming, tiny, ill baby, beside herself in pain from a nasty ear infection. And me trying to calm her enough to offer her a dose of Calpol. We quickly discovered the also magical medicine dummies in place of the syringes which I can never actually control without squirting it everywhere. After the initial taste, my baby would cautiously take the rest of the dose. The sucking motion calmed her and soon after, the Calpol worked its magic touch and she took a deep breath and quietly cuddle up to me as the pain subsided.

To me, that’s magic. Could you imagine baby Calpol NOT existing? It would be our number one want on the mad baby inventor programme.

The argument is that Calpol tastes so good that there’s a risk of overdose. There are reports of kids clambering into cupboards, busting open the caps and glugging their way through the bottle. Sounds like me and gin at baby bedtime.

In the reports I’ve read, Calpol makers are taking a hammering. So much so that I was compelled to write this post. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making light of the serious issue of potential overdosing. Yes, action does need to be taken to reduce the risks. But part of me thinks that there is an education process with parents about the very real danger that overdosing on paracetamol can cause with advice on storage – even if it involves hiding it in a locked medicine cupboard. I know that terrible accidents can happen when you’re a parent. But if your baby rolls off a changing station, do you blame the manufacturer or do you start changing the baby at ground level?

Calpol, here’s my message to you: Thank you for not only making a magic potion that takes excruciating pain away from my baby but also making it appealing enough that even in the deep dark depths of despair, my baby will take it.
Let’s not forget that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. Even Mary Poppins agrees.

What do you think?


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