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Children’s Tylenol

Children’s Tylenol and adult Tylenol contain the same active ingredient (acetaminophen) to treat mild pain and fever. The differences between the two drugs are the dosage amounts and the timing of when to take it. Children’s Tylenol is also available in chewable and liquid form.

Last Modified: June 6, 2022
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When Do You Give Children Tylenol?

Pediatricians recommend children’s Tylenol to provide temporary relief from fever and minor pain, including from earaches, teething pain and headache. The medication should start working within two hours of taking it, although that depends on which form was used and the dosage taken.

Earaches, fever, sore throats and headaches are also symptoms of bacterial infections, which require antibiotics, or viral infections, for which pediatricians may recommend fluids and continued use of Tylenol.

If pain and fevers persist, contact your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor can run tests such as strep tests which can determine the source of infection and help children begin appropriate treatment sooner.

The same case applies if you are unsure about your child’s symptoms or health. Talk to your child’s pediatrician before administering any medication.

Children’s Tylenol Dosage

Acetaminophen is associated with health complications, the most serious of which is liver damage. Because of the potential harm Tylenol can do to the liver, doctors and pharmacists advise people to follow dosing instructions carefully while taking the medication. In June 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration introduced guidelines to help parents, consumers and caregivers avoid dosing mistakes when taking or administering acetaminophen.

Before giving any Tylenol product to a child, the FDA recommends you first identify the drug’s concentration on its label. Except for Tylenol for infants younger than 2 years old, all other Drug Facts Labels point out the safe oral daily dose and the most recommended directions for use. In case you are not sure or need more clarification, discuss the dosage with a pharmacist or doctor.

Recommended Tylenol dosage for children
Child’s WeightAgeInfants’ TYLENOL® Oral Suspension 160 Mg / 5mlChildren’s TYLENOL® Oral Suspension 160 Mg / 5mlChildren’s TYLENOL® Chewable Tablet 160 Mg / TabletChildren’s TYLENOL® Dissolve Packs 160 Mg / PackAdult 325 Mg TabletsAdult 500 Mg Tablets
6-11 LBS0-3 MonthsAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorDo Not UseDo Not UseDo Not Use
12-17 LBS4-11 MonthsAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorDo Not UseDo Not UseDo Not Use
18-23 LBS12-23 MonthsAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorAsk A DoctorDo Not UseDo Not UseDo Not Use
24-35 LBS2-3 Years5 ML5 ML1 TabletDo Not UseDo Not UseDo Not Use
36-47 LBS4-5 Years---------7.5 ML1 ½ TabletsDo Not UseDo Not UseDo Not Use
48-59 LBS6-8 Years---------10 ML2 Tablets2 Packs1 TabletDo Not Use
60-71 LBS9-10 Years---------12.5 ML2 ½ Tablets2 Packs1 TabletDo Not Use
72-95 LBS11-12 Years---------15 ML3 Tablets3 Packs1 ½ Tablets1 Tablet
96+ LBS12+ Years------------------------------------2 Tablets1 Tablet

There is also Tylenol Family, Children and Adult Oral Suspension formulation that can be used by adults and children ages 2 onwards. Each 5 ml dose contains 160 mg of acetaminophen to temporarily reduce fever and relieve minor pains and aches including headache, sore throat and toothache, as well as menstrual and premenstrual cramps.

The dosage for children ages 2 to 12 should be as follows (or as directed by a doctor or pharmacist):
Weight (lb)Age (yr)Dose (mL)*
Under 24Under 2Ask a doctor
24-352-3 years5 mL
36-474-5 years7.5 mL
48-596-8 years10 mL
60-719-10 years12.5 mL
72-9511 years15 mL

Repeat the dose every four hours while symptoms last. Do not take more than five times in 24 hours or for more than five days in a row unless directed by a doctor.

The dosage for children older than 12 and for adults should be as follows or as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

Take 20 ml of Tylenol Family, Children and Adult Oral Suspension every four hours while symptoms last. Do not take more than five doses in 24 hours and for more than 10 days unless directed by a doctor.

Children’s Tylenol Warnings

Scientists established in the 1980s that acetaminophen could cause liver damage (hepatotoxicity). Today, Tylenol overdoses are estimated to cause about 2,000 cases of hepatotoxicity, 26,000 hospitalizations and at least 450 deaths a year.

Pediatricians prescribe paracetamol for children as a safe way to relieve pain. The use of acetaminophen among pediatric physicians exceeds 90%, even in cases where the drug would have been avoided like in the treatment of mild fever, as research indicates.

A systematic review published by the European Journal of Pediatrics demonstrated that paracetamol has been proven safe for liver function in infants and small children even at higher than recommended doses. However, research shows that acetaminophen exposure to children at early developmental stages poses adverse effects on their neurodevelopment.

Tylenol provides label warnings to consumers about liver toxicity, allergies and sore throat. Not all side effects may occur, but if they appear, visit a doctor.

Make sure you read and understand the precautions on the drug label before administering.

Children’s Tylenol Side Effects

All drugs can cause side effects. But most people who take Tylenol experience no side effects or only minor ones. Call your child’s pediatrician if symptoms persist.

Common side effects include:
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach

In rare cases, children may experience serious and sometimes fatal side effects. Seek immediate emergency medical help if your child is unable to pass urine or there is a change in how much urine is passed.

Emergency care is also required if your child shows signs of liver problems such as exhaustion, dark urine, stomach pain, upset stomach, loss of appetite, vomiting, light-colored stool and yellow skin or eyes.

These are not all the side effects that can occur. If you have any questions about side effects, get in touch with your child’s doctor for medical advice.

Signs of Allergic Reaction

Some symptoms children may experience are the result of an allergic reaction to acetaminophen or other inactive ingredients. Contact your child’s pediatrician or seek emergency medical care for serious and severe allergic reactions.

Allergy symptoms may include:
  • Body rash
  • Itching, red, blistered or peeling skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing or talking
  • Wheezing chest
  • Swelling of mouth, tongue, or throat

Toxic epidermal necrolysis or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a severe skin reaction, can mirror signs of allergic reactions. This condition is not a sign of allergy, but can be mistaken for an allergic reaction. It can cause severe health problems that may not go away and may sometimes lead to death. Seek medical help right away if your child has red, blistered, swollen or peeling skin with or without fever, or sores in the mouth, nose, eyes or throat and red or irritated eyes.

Can You Give Children’s Tylenol to an Infant?

Giving an infant the appropriate dosage of children’s Tylenol, for their weight and age, might be all you need to give the baby relief from fever and minor pain. It’s safe to give an infant children’s Tylenol as long as you follow the doctor’s advice for children under the age of 2.

However, there is a Tylenol product for infants that is specifically tailored to not upset their stomachs.

Is Infants’ Tylenol the Same as Children’s Tylenol?

Both the infants’ Tylenol product and the children’s Tylenol product have the same amount of acetaminophen: 160 mg of acetaminophen in every 5ml, pack or tablet. However, the Infants’ Tylenol bottle is three times more expensive than the Children’s Tylenol product.

Before standardizing the Tylenol infant and children’s drug versions, the infants’ product was stronger than the one for children. Manufacturers were against the idea of giving babies too much liquid medicine, so they figured out how to increase the amount of acetaminophen, make it stronger, and thus administer less.

According to Inna Hernandez of the University of Pittsburgh, Tylenol for infants was three times more concentrated, so it made sense that it was more costly. But before long, caregivers and parents were making dosage blunders. Many babies became ill and some died as a result.

The FDA reported the introduction of acetaminophen for “infants” (160 mg/5 mL) in the market in December 2011. The drug’s new formulation and concentration was identical to that of Tylenol for children.

Changes in concentration also brought adjustments in the dosage and packaging. Previously, the infants’ medicine came with a dropper, but after the changes, the package came with an oral syringe.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.