How to Give Your Child a Rectal Suppository
Medicines come in a number of forms.
A rectal suppository is one way to give
medicine to your child if the medicine
cannot or will not be taken by mouth.
• If the suppository is too soft to insert,
chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
or run it under cold water before taking
off the wrapper.
• Distract your child before and after
giving it. You can try reading, playing
music, or a back rub.
• Some parents may become anxious
when they have to give a suppository.
Keep in mind it is medicine that your
child needs in order to feel better. Once
you have given it the first time, you will
see how easy it is to do.
How to Insert a Rectal Suppository
• Wash your hands.
• Remove the foil wrapper and wet the
suppository with a few drops of cold
water or a water-soluble lubricant, such
as K-Y Jelly . Do not use Vaseline
since this keeps the suppository from
• Put on plastic gloves or you may cover
your fingertip with plastic wrap, such as
Saran Wrap .
• Place your child on:
– either side with the knees bent
toward the chest
– the back with legs raised as if to
change a diaper
– the stomach with knees to chest or
over your lap
• Hold the suppository between your
thumb and index finger.
• With your other hand, open the buttock
cheeks until you can see the anal
• Gently insert the round end of the
suppository into the anal opening using
the tip of your index finger. You will
know if you have put the suppository in
far enough if it does not come right back
• Gently hold the buttock cheeks closed to
keep your child from pushing out the
suppository. Do this for about 10
• Body heat causes the suppository to melt
and begin to take effect.
If you have questions about giving a
suppository to your child, please call your
health care provider.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5595