Health Information

Giving Acetaminophen to Your Child

  • Home
  • Health Information

momandchild The doctor has prescribed a medication called acetaminophen for your child. Be sure that you read and understand the information below before giving your child this medication.

What Is This Medication For?

Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain and fever.

How Much Medication Do I Give?

The amount of medication you give your child will depend on weight and age. Below are suggested dosages. Make sure to check the amount of medication in the liquid or tablet before giving the dose. Follow the instructions on the actual medication label for the latest dosage information. Some brands may come in different concentrations, so make sure you check the label closely. Talk to the doctor if you are unsure of how much medication to give your child.

Age

Weight

Total Dose You Need to Give Your Child

If using Children’s 80 mg tablet, you will need to give your child…

If using Junior 160 mg tablet, you will need to give your child…

2-3 years

24-35 pounds (11-16 kg)

160 mg

2 tablets

1 tablet**

4-5 years

36-47 pounds (16-21.5 kg)

240 mg

3 tablets

1 ½ tablets**

6-8 years

48-59 pounds (21.5-27 kg)

320 mg

4 tablets

2 tablets

9-10 years

60-71 pounds (27-32.5 kg)

400 mg

5 tablets

2 ½ tablets

11 years

72-95 pounds (32.5-43 kg)

480 mg

6 tablets

3 tablets

≥12 years

96+ pounds (43.5+ kg)

640 mg

n/a

4 tablets

kg=kilogram; mg=milligram

** Ask your doctor if this suggested dose is right for your child.

Dose may be given every 4-6 hours as needed. Do not give your child more than five doses in 24 hours.

Age

Weight

Total Dose You Need to Give Your Child

If using infant drops (80 mg/0.8ml), you will need to give your child…

If using liquid (160 mg/5ml), you will need to give your child…

0-3 months

6-11 pounds (2.7-5 kg)

40 mg

0.4 ml**

n/a

4-11 months

12-17 pounds (5-8 kg)

80 mg

0.8 ml**

½ teaspoon

(2.5 ml)**

12-23 months

18-23 pounds (8-11 kg)

120 mg

1.2 ml**

¾ teaspoon

(3.75 ml)**

2-3 years

24-35 pounds (11-16 kg)

160 mg

1.6 ml

1 teaspoon (5 ml)

4-5 years

36-47 pounds (16-21.5 kg)

240 mg

n/a

1 ½ teaspoons

(7.5 ml)

6-8 years

48-59 pounds (21.5-27 kg)

320 mg

n/a

2 teaspoons (10 ml)

9-10 years

60-71 pounds (27-32.5 kg)

400 mg

n/a

2 ½ teaspoons

(12.5 ml)

11 years

72-95 pounds (32.5-43 kg)

480 mg

n/a

3 teaspoons (15 ml)

kg=kilogram; mg=milligram; ml=milliliter

** Ask your doctor if this suggested dose is right for your child.

Dose may be given every 4-6 hours as needed. Do not give your child more than five doses in 24 hours.

For children less than two years old or less than 24 pounds (10 kg): Ask the doctor for specific dosing instructions that are right for your child.

Are There Side Effects?

Possible side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Liver damage (rare)

What Else Should I Know Before Giving My Child This Medication?

  • Talk to the doctor first to make sure you understand how to give the medication to your child. Also, let your doctor know if your child is taking any other medications.
  • Do not give your child other medications that contain acetaminophen. Overdosing can lead to serious problems, which can lead to liver damage or failure.

How Should I Store This Medication?

Store the medication at room temperature (68°F-77°F [20°C-25°C]) in a place that is free from moisture and light. Make sure that the medication is locked up and not accessible to any children.

When Should I Call A Doctor?

Call the doctor if your child has:

  • Signs of a more serious allergic reaction:
    • Wheezing
    • Chest tightness
    • Fever
    • Itching
    • Bad cough
    • Blue skin color
    • Convulsions
    • Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • New or worsening stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice, a condition marked by yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Rash

Also, call the doctor if your child feels worse or the condition does not improve.

If you think your child may have overdosed, go to the emergency room or call your local poison control center right away.

Revision Information

  • American Pharmacists Association Foundation

    http://www.aphafoundation.org

  • United States Food and Drug Administration

    http://www.fda.gov

  • Canadian Pharmacists Association

    http://www.pharmacists.ca

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

  • Acetaminophen. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated June 24, 2013. Accessed September 27, 2013.

  • Acetaminophen poisoning. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed September 27, 2013.

  • Acetaminophen oral solution. DailyMed website. Available at: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=2b8a640c-6859-42b3-a5dc-7a7d2a12816c. Updated May 2013. Accessed September 27, 2013.

  • Children’s dosage guide. Tylenol website. Available at: http://www.tylenol.com/children/subchild. Accessed September 27, 2013.