Tylenol is what you might reach out for when the baby has a fever. A commonly used medication, Tylenol is available in different variations, one specifically for infants. The dosage is also different.
Read this MomJunction post to know more about Tylenol for babies, its administration, dosage, and side effects, if any.
What Is Tylenol?
Tylenol is the brand name for the generic drug acetaminophen, which is also called paracetamol. It is perhaps the most popular drug found in over 600 medicines in the US (1). The medication can help reduce fever, alleviate pain and symptoms of cold, cough, and even allergic reactions.
Tylenol is available in tablet form for older kids and adults, and liquid form for infants and babies for easy administration using a syringe or dropper. In this post, we use Tylenol interchangeably with acetaminophen.
Is Tylenol Safe For Babies?
Yes. Infants’ Tylenol, which is sold as an over-the-counter medication, is safe for toddlers over the age of two years (2). Always consult a pediatrician before giving any medication to children aged less than two years or those with a body weight of less than 24lb (10.8kg). Usually, the recommended dosage of Tylenol for babies depends on their weight.
[ Read: What Causes Fever In Babies ]
Infant Tylenol Dosage Chart?
Infants’ Tylenol syrup contains 160mg of acetaminophen in every 5ml of liquid. Below is the dosage chart as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (3):
|Infant’s weight (lb/kg)
*Always consult a doctor before giving Infant Tylenol to babies below the weight of 12lb (5kg) (4).
#Both boys and girls tend to weigh so much when they’re two years old or more, which means you can safely give over-the-counter Infant Tylenol to them (5).
How To Administer Tylenol To A Baby?
Here is how you should give infant Tylenol to your baby:
- Shake the bottle of Tylenol well.
- Press the syringe stopper all the way to the bottom so that there is no air inside it.
- The bottle of Infants’ Tylenol contains a hole at its mouth, into which the syringe tip fits perfectly. Push the syringe only halfway across the hole, but not too deep.
- Once the syringe is in, turn the bottle upside down and draw the desired quantity of medicine. The markings on the syringe indicate the quantity of liquid you draw.
- Insert the dropper into the baby’s mouth aiming towards the lower second molar to ensure the liquid dribbles into the throat without coming back. Also, putting the syringe straight into the baby’s mouth can cause gagging.
- Gently press the stopper to release the medicine into the mouth, and stop in between if required.
- Take out the syringe once you have administered the medicine. Rinse it with warm water and leave it to dry. Close the cap of the bottle securely.
[ Read: Causes Of Cold In Babies ]
Can You Give Tylenol Suppository To The Baby?
Yes. You can give Tylenol suppository to a baby when they are unable to have the medicine orally (7). A suppository is a capsule designed to deliver the medicine to the body through body cavities (8). Tylenol suppository is delivered through the anal opening and is not an easy option, which makes it the last resort if prescribed by the doctor.
Follow these steps to use a Tylenol suppository (9):
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them.
- Make your baby lie on their side. Take off their underpants or diaper.
- Remove the suppository from the wrapper. Use warm water or pure, non-fragrance petroleum jelly to lubricate the suppository.
- Gently spread the infant’s buttocks apart and insert the suppository with its pointed end at the front.
- The suppository should go an inch into the anus. In children less than three years old, you must use the little finger of the hand to insert the suppository.
- Once the suppository is inside, hold the buttocks together for a couple of minutes. It allows the capsule to settle and prevents the baby to exert the capsule out immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after you are done.
If the baby excretes the entire capsule, then insert a new capsule again. In case of any doubts, talk to your doctor. Whether you choose the syrup or suppository, you must keep some essential points in mind when giving acetaminophen to babies.
Things To Remember When Giving Tylenol To Babies
Keep the following points in mind:
- Use a dosage syringe: Always use the dosage syringe, one that comes with the bottle of Tylenol or bought separately, and avoid using a spoon for administering the medicine. Dosing syringes are labeled with markings that accurately indicate the quantity and avoid overdosing.
- Give a gap of at least four hours between doses: Maintain four to six hours of gap between two doses of Tylenol to prevent overdose.
- No more than five doses in 24 hours: You must not give more than five doses of Tylenol to a baby in a day.
- Only four suppositories in a day: Infants should get a 100mg suppository, with a maximum of four in a day. If the infant is younger than six months, then limit it to a maximum of three doses in a day (10). You must maintain a gap of six hours between the doses.
- Prefer the liquid version over the soluble tablet: While you can combine 160mg acetaminophen tablets in water and give it to the baby, the liquid syrup version is a better option to ensure you do not exceed the desired dosage.
- Avoid extended release versions: The extended-release versions of acetaminophen gradually release the drug into the body for a sustained period. Do not give such medicines to the baby unless directed by a doctor.
Proper dosage and administration of the medicine help prevent any adverse effects of the medicine.
[ Read: How To Treat Cough In Babies ]
Are There Side Effects Of Infant Tylenol?
Yes, but only a few (11). The side effects of acetaminophen mostly occur in the case of overdosing or if the child has an allergic reaction to the medicine. Some side effects of acetaminophen are mentioned next (12).
Common side effects
- Fussiness and irritability
- Abdominal pain
- Mild loss of appetite
- General lethargy and sleepiness
Severe side effects
- Skin hives and rashes
- Swelling on the face and neck
- Trouble breathing
- Severe abdominal pain
- Development of jaundice
Severe side effects occur if you significantly overdose the baby or if the baby has an underlying medical condition. However, in some scenarios, you should avoid using the medicine without the doctor’s consultation.
When Not To Use Infants’ Tylenol Without Doctor’s Consultation?
Avoid giving Infants’ Tylenol to your baby without doctor consultation when:
- Your baby is on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen. Acetaminophen has similar effects as ibuprofen and combining them may lead to complications.
- The baby has a history of allergic reaction to medicines.
- Your baby has liver disease or liver problems.
- You are a lactating mother and are having acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While these medicines are compatible with breastfeeding, you must consult a doctor to prevent an overdose of the medicines (13).
Keep reading to know the answers for some more commonly asked questions about Tylenol for babies.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I give Infants’ Tylenol for teething pain?
Yes. You can give the recommended dose of acetaminophen to ease a baby’s teething pain (14). Do not give the medicine often unless told by the doctor in the case of severe pain.
[ Read: Signs Of Allergies In Babies ]
2. What is the difference between Infants’ Tylenol and Infants’ Motrin?
Infants’ Motrin contains ibuprofen while Tylenol is acetaminophen (15).
3. Is it safe to give Tylenol to a baby after they are vaccinated?
Yes. You can give Tylenol to a baby for pain and mild fever caused due to vaccination (16).
Tylenol has extensive uses and is handy for curing ailments in infants and toddlers. Following the dosage instructions and using it within a limit help you reap the benefits of Tylenol without the risk of side effects.
Have any tips on how to use Tylenol for babies? Let us know about them in the comments section.