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Antimicrobial stewardship and children

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is important in the care of children because administration of antimicrobials can have long term consequences for their health.

Why are children a focus for improved antimicrobial prescribing?

  • Children are prescribed antimicrobials at higher rates than other age groups.
  • Antimicrobials are often inappropriately prescribed for children.
  • Many childhood infections are caused by viruses, and some uncomplicated bacterial infections may not require treatment with antibiotics.
  • Studies have shown that almost 40% of antimicrobial prescriptions for children are not prescribed in accordance with clinical guidelines.
  • Early antibiotic exposure is associated with increased risk of chronic disease later in life, such as allergy, atopic dermatitis, coeliac disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Useful resources


Publication, report or update

Refer to Chapter 14 - Antimicrobial stewardship in the care of children

Refer to the section on prescribing rates for different age groups.

Refer to Chapter 3: Antimicrobial use and appropriateness

Fact sheet or brochure
Fact sheet or brochure

External resources

Multinational consensus antimicrobial stewardship recommendations for children managed in hospital settings

Kids Dose - a network of paediatric clinician researchers regarding therapeutics for the most common diseases of childhood

Find more in our resource library
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