Every parent at some point has asked this question: How much medicine is safe to give my baby? One of the most common medications for parents to wonder about is acetaminophen (Tylenol®), which can be used to bring down a fever or relieve pain.
If you are giving your child acetaminophen, it is important to check the strength and follow the dosing instructions on the label every time you give it to help prevent a poisoning.
This is especially true because of recent changes in the strength of acetaminophen for infants. Last year, manufacturers stopped making concentrated acetaminophen drops (80mg/0.8ml). If you still have unexpired concentrated drops, they are safe to give to your child. Just be sure to use the dropper provided with the medication, read the directions and give the correct dose for your child’s weight.
The new liquid acetaminophen medication has a different concentration (160mg/5ml) and a different dosing device—either a syringe or a dosing cup. Again, just be sure to read the label and follow the directions for the medication.
Here are some other tips for preventing medication poisoning in your child:
- Know your child’s current weight. If your child is less than two, ask your doctor what dose you should give.
- Read the label on the package for the concentration, the correct dose and the directions.
- Only use the dosing device that came with the medication. Do not use flatware spoons because they come in different sizes and may not be equal to a true teaspoon (5 ml).
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about what type of acetaminophen product you have, what dose you should give or how to measure the dose.
- Do not give medication more frequently than the label says.
- Know you numbers. Check out the handy measurement conversion table below.
- Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 or chat online if you have questions or think you may have given your child the wrong medicine or too much medicine.
For more information, visit the FDA’s Drug Safety site.