Many medications have messages on the containers which say, “for children under two years old, consult your doctor”. Some parents are reluctant to give medications to their young children. It is important to not use medications unless they are needed. But when infants or toddlers do need medicine, it is important to give a correct dosage.
It is better to dose medications by weight, rather than age. For acetaminophen (Tylenol), the dose is 1.25 mL for 6 to 11 pound infants, given every 4 hours. It is 2.5 mL for 12 to 17 pound infants, and 3.75 mL for 18 to 23 pounds. For 24 pounds to 35 pounds, the dose is 5 mL, or 160 mg. No more than 5 doses in a 24 hour period should be used.
For ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) there are two formulations. The infant formulation is twice as concentrated as the children’s form. The dose is 10 mg per kg, which translates to 10 mg for 22 to 24 pounds. But ibuprofen is not officially approved for infants under 6 months of age.
Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen are used for fever and pain. Ibuprofen is better for inflammatory conditions, such as a sprained ankle. But treat the child, not the thermometer. Slight fevers don’t need to be treated, as a little fever is helpful in combating infections.
Temperatures under 101 degrees Fahrenheit usually do not need medication.
For patients 12 to 17 pounds, the dose would be 1.25 mL of the infant’s Motrin. For those 18 to 23 pounds, you can give 1.875 mL of the infant concentration. It can be given every 6 hours, preferably with some food in the stomach, as it can irritate an empty stomach.
The children’s Motrin dose is 5 mL for 24 pounds up to 35 pounds.
Benadryl is often used for allergic reactions, but it is not appropriate to give for colds. The generic name is diphenhydramine, and it causes significant drowsiness in most children. For a 22 pound child, you could give from 2.5 to 5 mL every 6 hours for a significant allergic reaction. It should not be used as a sleep aid!
Call your doctor’s office with concerns.