Acetaminophen dosing for children
Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help children with colds and fever feel better. As with all drugs, it is important to give children the correct dose. Acetaminophen is safe when taken as directed. But, taking too much of this medicine can be harmful.
How Acetaminophen Can Help Your Child
Acetaminophen is used to help:
Proper Dosing of Liquids and Tablets
Children's acetaminophen can be taken as liquid or chewable tablet.
If your child is under age 2 years, check with your health care provider before giving your child acetaminophen.
To give the correct dose, you will need to know your child's weight.
You also need to know how much acetaminophen is in a tablet, teaspoon (tsp), or 5 milliliters (mL) of the product you are using. You can read the label to find out.
For syrups, you will need some type of dosing syringe. It may come with the medicine, or you can ask your pharmacist. Make sure to clean it out after each use.
If your child weighs 24 to 35 lbs (10.9 to 15.9 kilograms):
If your child weighs 36 to 47 lbs (16 to 21 kilograms):
If your child weighs 48 to 59 lbs (21.5 to 26.5 kilograms):
If your child weighs 60 to 71 lbs (27 to 32 kilograms):
If your child weighs 72 to 95 lbs (32.6 to 43 kilograms):
If your child weighs 96 lbs (43.5 kilograms) or more:
You may repeat the dose every 4 to 6 hours as needed. DO NOT give your child more than 5 doses in 24 hours.
If you are not sure how much to give your child, call your provider.
Proper Dosing of Suppositories
If your child is vomiting or will not take oral medicine, you can use suppositories. Suppositories are placed in the anus to deliver medicine.
You can use suppositories in children older than 6 months. Always check with your provider before giving any medicine to children under 2 years old.
This medicine is given every 4 to 6 hours.
If your child is 6 to 11 months:
If your child is 12 to 36 months:
If your child is 3 to 6 years:
If your child is 6 to 12 years:
If your child is 12 years and over:
Giving Medicine to Children
Make sure you do not give your child more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen as an ingredient. For example, acetaminophen can be found in many cold remedies. Read the label before giving any medicine to children. You should not give medicine with more than one active ingredient to children under age 6 years.
When giving medicine to children, also be sure to follow important child medicine safety tips.
If Your Child Takes Too Much
Be sure to post the number for the poison control center by your phone. If you think your child has taken too much medicine, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. It is open 24 hours a day. Signs may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, and abdominal pain.
Go to the nearest emergency room. Your child may need:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
Healthychildren.org website. American Academy of Pediatrics. Acetaminophen dosage table for fever and pain. www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/medication-safety/Pages/Acetaminophen-for-Fever-and-Pain.aspx. Updated April 20, 2017. Accessed November 15, 2018.
US Food and Drug Administration website. Reducing fever in children: safe use of acetaminophen. www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm263989.htm#Tips. Updated January 25, 2018. Accessed November 15, 2018.
Review Date: 10/11/2018
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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