Fever & Pain Relief Dosing

Your young child is acting cranky and feeling warm. You take a temperature, and you see that it’s over 100.4. So you head to the medicine cabinet, look at the box, and see Under 2 years – Ask a Doctor. Now what?

Well, have no fear! This note will give you the handy dosing information you need for for Acetaminophen (brand names Tylenol, Little Fevers, etc.) and Ibuprofen (brand names Motrin, Advil etc.), as well as a dosing table for Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

Picking the Right Concentration

Finding the right bottle of medication can be a little tricky. There are usually a million choices, and it can take a while to sort through all the options. Bottles are generally sorted into “Infant” and “Child” liquids. The infant forms usually have a dropper, and the child forms a cup. To use a dosing chart (see links below), you first need to know the concentration of the bottle.

The concentration information is usually listed on the front of the box. Here’s an example:


What About the Tylenol/Acetaminophen Recalls & Changes?

Before 2011, there were different concentrations for infant acetaminophen and children’s acetaminophen. Unfortunately, confusion over the different concentrations led to some cases of accidental overdoses; children were given the correct amount, but in the wrong concentration. To help prevent these problems, both brand-name and generic-label acetaminophen companies phased out the high-concentration infant bottles (80mg/0.8mL).

The older, high concentration infant forms of acetaminophen are still safe as long as they’re not expired, and as long as you follow the instructions on the dosing table.

The “new,” current concentration of acetaminophen for both infants and children is 160mg/5mL.

What Should I Use to Give the Dose? 

The best thing to do is to use the dropper or cup included with the medication. If you lose the dropper, you can buy a replacement at a pharmacy. Just make sure you give the correct amount according to the dosing table.

A Few More Important Points

1. If your child is less than 2 months old and has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4, call the office before going any further.

2. Be sure to keep track of the times you give each dose. Acetaminophen can be given up to every 4-6 hours and ibuprofen every 6-8 hours. Be careful — children can overdose if the doses are given too close together.

3. Do not use Ibuprofen for children under 6 months of age. Young babies aren’t able to clear the drug from their systems as well as older infants and children.

4. Acetaminophen rectal suppositories are available for children who are unable to take oral medications due to vomiting. However, if your child is sick to the point that he/she can’t keep anything down and also has a fever, please call the office.

5. Do not use Diphenhydramine for children under 1 year of age. As with ibuprofen, young babies aren’t able to clear the drug from their systems as well as older infants and children.





As always, if you have any questions or concerns, just give us a call in the office anytime.