Giving Acetaminophen to Your Child

momandchild The doctor has advised a medication called acetaminophen for your child. Be sure that you read and understand the information below before giving your child this medication.

What Is This Medication For?

Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain and fever.

How Much Medication Do I Give?

The amount of medication you give your child will depend on weight and age. Below are suggested dosages. Make sure to check the amount of medication in the liquid or tablet before giving the dose. Follow the instructions on the actual medication label for the latest dosage information. Some brands may come in different concentrations, so make sure you check the label closely. Talk to the doctor if you are unsure of how much medication to give your child.

Oral Dosage for Children 2-11 Years Old (Tablet)

Age

Weight

Total Dose You Need to Give Your Child

If using Children’s 80 mg tablet, you will need to give your child…

If using Children's 160 mg tablet, you will need to give your child…

2-3 years

24-35 pounds (11-16 kg)

160 mg

2 tablets

1 tablet

4-5 years

36-47 pounds (16-21.5 kg)

240 mg

3 tablets

1 ½ tablets

6-8 years

48-59 pounds (21.5-27 kg)

320 mg

4 tablets

2 tablets

9-10 years

60-71 pounds (27-32.5 kg)

400 mg

5 tablets

2 ½ tablets

11 years

72-95 pounds (32.5-43 kg)

480 mg

6 tablets

3 tablets

kg=kilogram; mg=milligram

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

Oral Dosage for Children 0-11 Years Old (Liquid)

Age

Weight

Total Dose You Need to Give Your Child

If using infant drops (160 mg/5ml), you will need to give your child…

If using liquid (160 mg/5ml), you will need to give your child…

0-3 months

6-11 pounds (2.7-5 kg)

40 mg

0.2ml**

n/a

4-11 months

12-17 pounds (5-8 kg)

80 mg

0.4 ml**

½ teaspoon

(2.5 ml)**

12-23 months

18-23 pounds (8-11 kg)

120 mg

0.6 ml**

¾ teaspoon

(3.75 ml)**

2-3 years

24-35 pounds (11-16 kg)

160 mg

n/a

1 teaspoon (5 ml)

4-5 years

36-47 pounds (16-21.5 kg)

240 mg

n/a

1 ½ teaspoons

(7.5 ml)

6-8 years

48-59 pounds (21.5-27 kg)

320 mg

n/a

2 teaspoons (10 ml)

9-10 years

60-71 pounds (27-32.5 kg)

400 mg

n/a

2 ½ teaspoons

(12.5 ml)

11 years

72-95 pounds (32.5-43 kg)

480 mg

n/a

3 teaspoons (15 ml)

kg=kilogram; mg=milligram; ml=milliliter

** Ask your doctor what suggested dose is right for your child.

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

For children less than 2 years old or less than 24 pounds (10 kg): Ask the doctor for specific dosing instructions that are right for your child.

Are There Side Effects?

Possible side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Liver damage (rare)

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

  • Talk to the doctor first to make sure you understand how to give the medication to your child. Also, let your doctor know if your child is taking any other medications.
  • Do not give your child other medications that contain acetaminophen. Overdosing can lead to serious problems, leading up to liver damage or failure.

How Should I Store This Medication?

Store the medication at 68°F-77°F (20°C-25°C) in a place that is free from moisture and light. Make sure that the medication is locked and not accessible to any children.

When Should I Call A Doctor?

Call the doctor if your child has:

  • Signs of a serious allergic reaction:
    • Wheezing
    • Chest tightness
    • Fever
    • Itching
    • Bad cough
    • Blue skin color
    • Convulsions
    • Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • New or worsening stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes—jaundice
  • Rash

Also, call the doctor if your child feels worse or the condition does not improve.

If you think your child may have overdosed, go to the emergency room or call for medical help right away.

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

References:

Acetaminophen. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T233023/Acetaminophen. Updated April 11, 2017. Accessed May 4, 2017.
Acetaminophen oral solution. Daily Med—National Library of Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 4, 2017.
Acetaminophen poisoning. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 3, 2016. Accessed May 4, 2017.
Children’s dosage guide. Tylenol website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 4, 2017.
Children's Tylenol Chewables. Tylenol website. Available at: https://www.tylenol.com/products/children-infants/children-s-tylenol-chewables#directions. Accessed May 4, 2017.
Children's Tylenol Oral Suspension. Tylenol website. Available at: https://www.tylenol.com/products/childrens-tylenol-oral-suspension. Accessed May 4, 2017.
Infants' Tylenol Oral Suspension. Tylenol website. Available at: https://www.tylenol.com/products/infants-tylenol-oral-suspension. Accessed May 4, 2017.
Last reviewed May 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 5/29/2015

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