Tylenol and baby: dose does matter
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) has long been a standard remedy for fever and pain in children. It's effective and readily available without a prescription. In excess, however, even good things can be harmful.
If you give your child acetaminophen, read the product label carefully to determine the correct dose based on your child's weight. If you don't know your child's current weight, you can use your child's age to determine the dose.
Generally, doses can be repeated every four hours, but shouldn't be given more than five times in 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of medication errors, manufacturers are in the process of changing the concentration of infant drops to match that of children's liquid. As a result, the dosing directions for infant drops will change. Be aware that there might be a time when both the current and new concentrations of infant drops are available.
Too much acetaminophen overloads the liver's ability to process the drug safely. An acetaminophen overdose can lead to life-threatening liver problems. How much acetaminophen is too much varies depending on the child's age and weight. Consider these guidelines from the American Association of Poison Control Centers:
Age 5 and younger. Seek emergency care if your child age 5 or younger swallows 91 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (200 mg per kg) in eight hours.
Age 6 and older. Seek emergency care if your child age 6 or older swallows 91 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (200 mg per kg) or at least 10 grams of acetaminophen — whichever is less — in 24 hours; or 68 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (150 mg per kg) or at least 6 grams of acetaminophen — whichever is less — per 24-hour period for 48 hours or longer.
If you're concerned about a possible acetaminophen overdose and notice early signs or symptoms of an overdose — nausea, vomiting, lethargy and abdominal pain within 24 hours — call your local poison control center at 800-222-1222 or seek emergency care. If possible, note the strength or concentration of acetaminophen in the product to help poison control or the emergency responders assess your child.