What's The Right Dose of Tylenol (Acetaminophen) For My Baby?

If your little one is suffering from fever and/or pain, Tylenol is one option to help relieve their symptoms. How much Tylenol is safe to give your child at a time? Here's what parents need to know, based on advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

How much Tylenol is safe to give your child at a time? Ultimately, the amount you give should follow your pediatrician's advice.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made recommendations to help doctors and parents choose the right Tylenol dosage for a child. These safe doses of Tylenol are based on a child's weight.

Here's what parents need to know about giving safe doses of Tylenol, based on advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

As always, please consult with your own pediatrician first.

What is Tylenol?

Tylenol is the most common brand name for the medicine acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen can help lessen fever. It can also help relieve pain caused by a headache, a cold, a sore throat, or body aches.

We don't know exactly why acetaminophen has these benefits. It doesn't reduce inflammation like other medicines. Instead, it may block certain pain-signal chemicals in someone's brain from releasing, so your child doesn't feel pain. Still, more information is needed about why acetaminophen works.

When To Give My Baby Tylenol?

Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used to relieve baby’s fever. It can also be used to relieve baby’s pain, such as when they have an ear infection, when they are teething, or if they have a minor injury. In addition, it can be used to treat a cold or other viral infection.

Dr. Anita Chandra and the American Academy of Pediatrics share more on giving Tylenol (a fever reducer) to treat your child’s cold:

However, do not give baby acetaminophen before they get a shot, as this may decrease the effectiveness of the immunization.

Also, Tylenol is not usually recommended for babies under 12 weeks of age. If your baby is under 12 weeks of age, do not give them acetaminophen unless your pediatrician advises you to. When a baby younger than 12 weeks old has a fever, their fever must be documented and should be evaluated in person by a doctor. So, call your pediatrician right away if your baby has a fever.

(If your baby is over 8 weeks of age and develops a fever within 24 hours after an immunization, ask your pediatrician if you should give Tylenol. The low fever may just be a sign that the immunization is working, but Tylenol may help to relieve any discomfort baby has.)

Is Tylenol Safe For My Child?

After 12 weeks of age, Tylenol (or any single-ingredient acetaminophen) is usually safe to give your little one when they are sick with a fever or cold, or when they are in pain.

Follow these guidelines to keep your child safe when choosing an acetaminophen product:

  • Avoid multi-ingredient acetaminophen products if your child is under 6 years of age.
  • Stick to children's products (syrup or chewable tablets) if your child weighs less than 48 pounds.
  • If your child is under 2 years of age, only give children's liquid acetaminophen. At this age, chewable tablets pose a choking risk.
  • It's only safe to give 325mg adult acetaminophen tablets if your child weighs over 48 pounds. At this point, it's still preferable to give children's acetaminophen, though, if they are under 11 years of age.
  • It's only safe to give a 500mg adult tablet if your child weighs over 72 pounds and is 11 years of age or older.
  • Never give a child (of any age) the 650 mg extended-release acetaminophen pill.

But acetaminophen can cause serious side effects if your child is given too much at a time.

The most serious side effect of taking too much acetaminophen is liver damage. If your child takes the right dose of acetaminophen, though, liver damage is extremely unlikely.

So, it's vital that you give your little one a safe dose of Tylenol based on their weight.

Also, talk to your doctor if you want to start Tylenol, but your child is already taking another medication that contains acetaminophen. This way, your child won't consume too much at a time.

Signs of liver damage from too much acetaminophen may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain where the liver is located, dark urine, tarry stools, skin yellowing, and/or pale skin. Seek emergency help immediately if your child experiences these symptoms.

Giving The Right Dose Of Tylenol

All children's/junior strength acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic brands of children's syrup and chewable tablets) comes in a standard dose of 160 mg. For children's liquid acetaminophen, that's 160 mg per 5 ml of syrup.

Adult acetaminophen tablets come in two different doses that are safe for older children: 325 mg (children 48+ lbs) and 500mg (children 72+ lbs and 11+ years).

As always, consult your pediatrician before giving your child Tylenol, and ask them how much Tylenol you should give your child. Your pediatrician's advice takes priority.

Also, if you're giving liquid Tylenol (acetaminophen), always use the syringe, dropper, or cup that came with the medicine when measuring a dose.

As a helpful guide, the AAP recommends the following safe doses of Tylenol based on a child's weight. (The doses in this table apply to all brands and generic versions of acetaminophen, not just Tylenol.)

Tylenol Toddler Dosage Chart

Give your child a dose of Tylenol every 4-6 hours until no longer needed. Don't give Tylenol more than 5 times within 24 hours.

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