Many parents rely on Tylenol to reduce their infant’s fever or discomfort. How often you should administer the medication will depend on various factors, such as dosage.
Tylenol was a staple in my home when my children were babies. From ear infections and colds to influenza and RSV, most parents will discover the need for a pain or fever reducer at one time or another. However, you don’t want to overdo it with the Tylenol.
Every eight minutes a young child in the U.S. experiences a medication mistake, according to Forbes. Tylenol, the trademark for acetaminophen, can be safe for use in infants in the proper doses and downright dangerous in the wrong ones.
Always follow the dosage instructions provided on the medication bottle. Most infants’ acetaminophen is available in concentrations of 160 mg/5 ml, according to Parents Magazine.
Give your infant the recommended dose every four to six hours as needed, not exceeding five doses in 24 hours. If you are unsure about the proper dosage to administer to your infant, call your pediatrician.
What the Experts Say
Tylenol is a popular pain reliever often used by adults. The medication is also available in a liquid formula for babies and children. Like any type of drug, you only want to administer Tylenol when it’s absolutely needed and always follow the instructions on the label or those provided by your child’s doctor. Here’s what some experts have to say about giving Tylenol to an infant.
“I tell parents that acetaminophen is a very safe and effective drug to treat fever when it is used appropriately, which means giving correct doses and not giving it too often. However, acetaminophen can be dangerous when an excessive amount is given or when it is given too frequently, which can be toxic to the liver and lead to liver failure, which can be fatal.”
Edward A. Bell, Children’s Medicines: What Every Parent, Grandparent, and Teacher Needs to Know
“Infant medicines usually come in liquid form but in different strengths based on the individual medicine. Use only the dispenser that came with the medication, and follow the directions on the label carefully so that you give your baby the right dose. Often, for children under 2, the medicine label will tell you to ask your care provider for instructions on dosing.”
Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year
“The usual medication for fever is acetaminophen, which should be given no more often than every four hours and is available either in generic form or in such brands as Tylenol and Feverall. Different formulations come in different strengths; infant Tylenol (80 mg/.8ml), for example, has a higher concentration than children’s Tylenol (160 mg/5 ml).”
Dr. Stuart Altman, The Kidfixer Baby Book: An Easy-to-Use Guide to Your Baby’s First Year
“What should I do if my daughter vomits right after I give her medicine? This is a common question. The answer depends on the specific medicine given and how much time passed between when she took the medicine and when she vomited. Most liquid medicines are absorbed into the bloodstream in less than one hour. If a child is given a liquid medicine and vomits 45 minutes later, giving another dose of medicine probably isn’t necessary.”
Edward A. Bell, A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Medicines
“Acetaminophen is given every 4 to 6 hours, depending on its strength. If the patient has an illness that causes a fever, it is often advisable to give the medication routinely rather than as needed to prevent uncomfortable swings in temperature; however, the maximum dose per day must not be exceeded.”
Marilyn Winterton Edmunds, Maren Stewart Mayhew, Pharmacology for the Primary Care Provider
Check with Your Pediatrician
When in doubt, it’s best to check with your pediatrician about the dosage and frequency of medication. “Because your baby’s weight changes quickly and dosage is usually determined by weight, it’s always best to check with your pediatrician,” says Tylenol.com.
“He or she will know how much is safe for your baby.” Be sure to notify your pediatrician if your infant is taking any other type of medication, especially drugs already containing acetaminophen.”
Use the Measuring Tool Provided
Tylenol typically comes with a measuring cup, syringe, or dropper which should be used when administering the medication. When giving infants medication, the latter options are best as they allow you to get the full amount to the back of your baby’s mouth. Never use a dropper from a different product or a measuring spoon from your kitchen as these can result in inadequate measurements.
Know When to Offer a Second Dose
If your infant spits up or vomits the dose of Tylenol, you may be concerned that he or she will not receive the full benefits of the medication. If your child spits out what seems like most of the medication within five to ten minutes after administering it, it is usually safe to repeat the full dose according to Parents Magazine. If the infant kept the medicine down for at least 20 minutes, you do not need to administer another dose.
Tylenol is a safe and effective medication that can help relieve your little one’s discomfort in as little as 30 minutes. Just know that if your infant’s fever or pain persists, it’s important to promptly contact your pediatrician.