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Health Information For Parents
Acetaminophen (uh-see-tuh-MI-nuh-fen) is an over-the-counter medicine taken to relieve fever and pain. It’s a safe drug when used correctly for a wide variety of problems. But too high a dose can make a child very sick. Giving too much can lead to liver damage and, in rare cases, even death. So it’s important to know how to properly give acetaminophen.
If you have any questions about giving acetaminophen to your child, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Never give this or any other kind of medicine to a child younger than 2 years old without getting a doctor’s OK first.
Acetaminophen is the generic name of this drug. In some other countries, acetaminophen is known as paracetamol. Many generic brands of acetaminophen are available.
The most common brand name for this medicine is Tylenol®, but it is also sold under the names Panadol®, FeverAll®, and Tempra®.
For kids, this medicine is available in oral suspensions (liquid form) and also chewable tablets. Chewable tablets are best for children 6 years of age and older. Rectal suppositories (FeverAll® or Tempra®) are available for children who have trouble taking medicine by mouth or can’t keep medicines down due to vomiting.
Tylenol® makes Infants’ Tylenol® (“drops”) and Children’s Tylenol® oral suspensions, as well as Jr. Tylenol® chewable tablets. Many generic brands of acetaminophen are available in similar forms.
Tylenol® and other brands that make infant drops used to offer them in a more concentrated formula, which was 80 mg/0.8 ml per dose. These drops were taken off the market because babies were getting sick after parents mistakenly gave too much medicine while using kitchen teaspoons or measuring cups from Children’s Tylenol®. If you have Infants’ Tylenol® or a similar product in the 80 mg strength, throw it away and do not give it to your child. The new infant drops have the same concentration as Children’s Tylenol® (160 mg/5 ml per dose).
Refer to the following dosage charts for the correct dosage of acetaminophen.
Other things to know:
Doctors recommend using a child’s weight instead of age when figuring out how much medicine to give. Before giving your child a dose, check the label to make sure the recommended dosage and concentration agree with the numbers below.
This table is based on doctors’ and the manufacturers’ recommendations. It is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. If your child is 2 years old or younger, get the OK from your health care professional before giving the medicine. And always call if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicine.
3 teaspoons (15 ml)
When your body is injured in some way, your nerves send messages to your brain about what’s going on. Your brain then makes you feel pain. Read our pain-free article for kids.
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Giving kids medicine safely can be complicated. Here’s how you can help treat your child’s illness while you prevent dangerous reactions.
You’ve taken medicine before. But what is it?
Medicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them.
If your child is sick, you’ll probably have many questions to ask your doctor. But have you made a list of questions and concerns to share with your pharmacist?
What kind? How much? How often? Find out how to give this pain medicine.
Headaches affect kids as well as adults. Learn about common causes and when to talk to a doctor.
Fevers happen when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body’s way of fighting infections.
What are fevers? Why do kids get them? Get the facts on temperatures and fevers in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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