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Giving Acetaminophen to Your Child

momandchild The doctor has suggested acetaminophen for your child. Here is what you need to know about this medicine.

What Is This Medication For?

Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain and fever.

How Much Medication Do I Give?

For children less than 24 pounds or under 2 years old: Ask the doctor how much your child should take.

The amount of medicine for children 2 years or older is based on weight. Age may be used if weight is not known but weight is best. The medicine label will list how much to give. Follow the instructions on the label of your child's medicine. It will have the most accurate dosage information. Some brands may have different measurements. Make sure to read the label closely. Always ask your child's doctor if you are unsure of how much to give.

Below are common suggested dosages:

Infant Acetaminophen Oral Suspension (Liquid)

A dropper is given with the medicine to help measure liquid. It is best to use this dropper to avoid measuring mistakes.

Based on strength: 160 mg/ 5 ml

Weight Age Dose - measurements can be found on dropper
Under 12 lbsUnder 6 monthsAsk your child's doctor.
24 to 35 lbs (11 to 16 kg)2 to 3 years5 ml (1 teaspoon)

lbs=pounds; kg=kilogram; ml=milliliter

Dose may be given every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not give your child more than 5 doses in 24 hours.

Children's Acetaminophen Oral Suspension (Liquid)

Medicine will come with a measuring cup. It is best to use this cup to avoid measuring mistakes.

Based on strength: 160 mg/ 5 ml

Weight Age Dose - measurements can be found on cup
Under 24 lbsUnder 2 yearsAsk your child's doctor.
24 to 35 lbs (11 to 16 kg)2 to 3 years5 ml (1 teaspoon)
36 to 47 lbs (16 to 21 kg)4 to 5 years7.5 ml (1.5 teaspoons)
48 to 59 lbs (22 to 27 kg)6 to 8 years10 ml (2 teaspoons)
60 to 71 lbs (27 to 32 kg)9 to 10 years12.5 ml (2.5 teaspoons)
72 to 95 lbs (33 to 43 kg)11 years15 ml (3 teaspoons)

lbs=pounds; kg=kilogram; ml=milliliter

Dose may be given every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not give your child more than 5 doses in 24 hours.

Junior Acetaminophen Chewables

Medicine is given as a tablet that can be chewed.

Based on strength: 160 mg per tablet

Weight Age Number of Chewable Tablets
Under 24 lbsUnder 2 yearsAsk your child's doctor.
24 to 35 lbs (11 to 16 kg)2 to 3 years1 tablet
36 to 47 lbs (16 to 21 kg)4 to 5 years1.5 tablet
48 to 59 lbs (22 to27 kg)6 to 8 years2 tablets
60 to 71 lbs (27 to 32 kg)9 to10 years2.5 tablets
72 to 95 lbs (33 to 43 kg)11 years3 tablets

lbs=pounds; kg=kilogram

Dose may be given every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not give your child more than 5 doses in 24 hours.

Are There Side Effects?

In some children, acetaminophen may cause:

Let your child's doctor know if your child is having these problems. They may recommend a different medicine.

What Else Should I Know Before Giving My Child This Medication?

Talk to the doctor about using this medicine for your child. Make sure you understand how to give the medicine to your child. Let your doctor know if your child is taking any other medicine.

Some products like cold medicine have a mix of drugs. Acetaminophen is common in these mixes. It can cause an accidental overdose. It is best to avoid these mixed medicines for children. If your child is taking more than 1 medicine, check the label to make sure they are only getting single doses of acetaminophen. Too much can lead to serious problems including liver damage.

How Should I Store This Medication?

Store the medicine at 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). It should be kept in a place that is free from moisture and light. Keep this and all medicine out of reach from children.

When Should I Call A Doctor?

Call the doctor if you are unsure of how much medicine to give or your child has:

Get emergency medical care if your child has signs of a serious allergic reaction such as:

Go to the emergency room or call for medical help right away if you think your child has taken too much medicine.

RESOURCES:

American Pharmacists Association Foundation
http://www.aphafoundation.org

US Food and Drug Administration
http://www.fda.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Pharmacists Association
http://www.pharmacists.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Acetaminophen. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/drug-monograph/acetaminophen. Updated November 30, 2018. Accessed January 24, 2020.

Acetaminophen Dosage Table for Fever and Pain. Healthy Children (AAP) website. Available at: https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/medication-safety/Pages/Acetaminophen-for-Fever-and-Pain.aspx. Updated April 20, 2017. Accessed January 24, 2020.

How to safely give acetaminophen. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/acetaminophen.html?ref=search. Updated October 2018. Accessed January 24, 2020.

Tylenol Dosage Charts for Infants and Children. Drugs.com website. Available at: https://www.drugs.com/dosage-charts/tylenol-infants-children.html. Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed January 24, 2020.

Last reviewed January 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 1/24/2020