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Infection management guideline: empirical antibiotic therapy in children

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This policy is intended to guide medical staff in GG&C hospitals on the choice of appropriate treatment of infections in children. Please consult local unit guidance for patients in Schiehallion ward and the neonatal unit.

The initial treatment may need to be modified according to clinical response and results of microbiology and other investigations. The appropriate specimens for microbiology should be taken whenever possible before administering antibiotics, however this will depend upon the severity of the illness and the nature of the specimen. In patients who are stable and not septic, and in whom infection is only one of a number of possibilities, consideration should be given to deferring antibiotics until the results of cultures are known, as long as there is no change in the clinical condition in the interim.

The need for antibiotics and their route of administration should be reviewed daily.
A definite decision regarding treatment should be taken at 2 and 5 days. When clinically reasonable, consider changing from IV to oral therapy.

Doses of antibiotics are recommended in the BNF for Children.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 01 November 2020

Next review: 30 November 2023

Author(s): Susan Kafka (Specialist Pharmacist, RHCG)

Version: 7

Co-Author(s): Dr Conor Doherty (Consultant in Paediatric Infectious diseases and immunology, RHCG), Greater Glasgow & Clyde Paediatric Antimicrobial Management Team

Approved By: NHS GG&C Antimicrobial Utilisation Committee

Document Id: 122