Medication Dosing For Kids – How To Safely Manage Household Sickness


Having sick kids is the worst! They’re miserable, you’re miserable, and chances are, no one is getting much (or any) sleep until the illness passes. If you’re dealing with a sick child (or a child who’s teething or injured something), you may find yourself wondering about the appropriate medication dosing for kids.


Friendly reminder: this is meant to be a helpful resource for you, but it’s not medical advice. For actual medical advice, please consult an actual doctor.

The first place you probably turn for accurate medication dosing for kids is the medicine bottles themselves.

After all, you’d think a bottle of Tylenol would be a good place to go for the correct Tylenol dosage for kids. It’s not rocket science, after all, right?

Ehhhh . . . not necessarily.

Many of these bottles are especially vague for younger children. They’ll give the incredibly unhelpful, but legally safe advice, “Ask your doctor.”

medication dosing

Reliable places to find the correct Tylenol and Ibuprofen dosing information for children

Look, I’m all about asking my doctor when I have urgent medical questions. However, if I paged my pediatrician in the wee hours of the morning to ask how much Motrin I should give my 18-month-old for teething pain, well . . . we’d quickly become his least favorite patients.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately for him), my pediatrician must have experienced these calls many times. As a result, there’s a blatantly obvious link right on the homepage of his practice’s website to the correct Tylenol and Ibuprofen dosing charts for children. No late-night phone calls required.

What if I want to rotate Tylenol and Ibuprofen (Motrin) doses?

Sometimes kids get such a nasty illness, one medication just doesn’t keep the misery at bay long enough. Consult your doctor to confirm rotating Tylenol and Ibuprofen is appropriate for your child before trying it.

We had an awful run-in with adenovirus several years ago (that eventually ended up needing hospital treatment). In the meantime, our pediatrician advised us to try staggering Tylenol and Motrin (Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen) because the fever was ridiculous.

They gave us pretty detailed instructions on the appropriate medication dosing for my child, but when you’re tired and your brain is fried . . . sometimes you just want it laid out clearly in writing.

This website does a great job explaining how to properly stagger Tylenol and Motrin doses. In fact, they have charts for staggering the doses that show examples and non-examples. It’s pretty much a foolproof way to make sure you’re administering the proper medication dosage to your child.

What about allergies or an allergic reaction? How do I determine the medication dosing for that?

Another great resource for the correct medicine dosing for kids is the St. Louis Children’s hospital website. They have easy-to-read, easy-to-access charts for all kinds of things, including Children’s Benadryl. If your child experiences an allergic reaction after hours (aren’t they always after hours?!), this may be a great resource for you.

Of course, in addition to Children’s Benadryl dosage charts, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital website also has a lot of medication dosing information for other allergy meds. If your child takes Zyrtec or Claritin, those dosages are readily available as well.

Another nice feature of the dosage charts on this website is the additional information provided at the bottom of the tables. The site tells you the appropriate age range as well as potential advantages and drawbacks of the various medications.

I’m sure this website will provide the same disclaimer I did – that it’s not official medical advice – but it is published by a Children’s Hospital, so I consider that a big plus.

If I ever find myself hypothetically Googling the correct Children’s Benadryl dosage to treat a chigger bite that’s caused my child’s entire nether regions to swell, this is the website I’m going to use.

(Yes, that really happened in our house. Isn’t parenting fun?!)

Decongestants and cough medication dosing for kids

The advice in the medical community around decongestants and cough medicines for kids has shifted significantly in recent years. Personally, I wouldn’t give anything like Mucinex, Robitussin, Delsum, Dimetapp, etc., to my kids without specifically getting my doctor’s approval first.

I explored a few pediatric websites, some of which come up decently high in the search engine results. Some of them still have out-of-date information on the proper dosing for children. Many medical bodies, such as the AAP, FDA, and various research institutions have modified their recommendations fairly recently, to the point that some of these organizations don’t even recommend these medications at all for certain age groups.

When there’s conflicting information about safety or effectiveness (or both), that’s 100% an area where I wouldn’t trust a random website over my own pediatrician’s recommendations.

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Regardless of the medication, it’s important to dose your kids accurately.

Don’t just pull a cereal spoon from the silverware drawer or eyeball it. This isn’t the 1970s — we have standards now!

All kidding aside, it’s important to be precise when giving medication doses to anyone, but especially kids. If you don’t have the syringe or dosing cup that came with the product, you can easily and cheaply grab these to have on hand. (I like this set because they’re available in different sizes. Some medication dosing for kids requires very small amounts; others require rather large doses, so it’s nice to have options.)

Deciding what medications to give – and at what dosages – can be a taxing job for parents.

There have been countless times a medical background would’ve been helpful to me as a parent.

Does that need stitches? Is that bone broken? Is this fever too high?

Deciding when medications are necessary, how often, and the correct dosages for my kids certainly belongs right on that list.

Luckily, there are plenty of helpful websites to help you do just that. When in doubt, give your pediatrician a ring. In their line of work, they’ve certainly seen it all when it comes to sick kids and worried parents!


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