Medication Questions

Below you will find some important information for several common over-the-counter products. If you still have questions afterwards, please call us.

Please remember:

  • All doses are determined by weight, not age (see charts below according to the weight of the child)
  • Check the label for the active ingredient
  • Check the label for the concentration of the medicine (how many "mg"s in how many "ml"s)
  • Do not mix medicines containing the same active ingredients (Pediacare and Feverall, for example)
  • Do not give medicines to infants less than 2 months old, unless they have just received their vaccines that day. Any fever equal to or higher than 100.4 degrees when taken rectally in an infant less than 2 months old is an emergency, and your child must be taken to the hospital immediately.
  • Do not give aspirin to any child unless specifically prescribed by your doctor

Over-the-Counter Pain And Fever Control Products offer one of two active ingredients –Acetaminophen (in Feverall, Little Fevers, Pediacare and others) or Ibuprofen (in Advil and others). Acetaminophen may be used every 4 hours if needed, and Ibuprofen every 6 hours if needed. It is best to stay away from Ibuprofen, if your child is not eating much. The two can be alternated if one is not enough to control fever or discomfort. You may administer a different medication 1 hour after the first, if you do not see the desired effect. Write down the times and the doses of each medicine.

For more information on Acetaminophen dosing [PDF]

For more information on Ibuprofen dosing [PDF]
These charts reflect recent changes in products which may require you to give a different amount of medicine from what you gave before.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Diphenhydramine is available in liquid form without a prescription, to use for hives and for itching with certain rashes. It can be given every 6 to 8 hours as needed. If your child is experiencing difficulty breathing, wheezing, tongue swelling, lip tingling, vomiting, or other signs of a serious allergic reaction, you can give them Benadryl, but you must go to the emergency department immediately. Do not administer diphenhydramine to an infant less than 1 year old without speaking to your doctor first.

Elixir (12.5mg/5 ml) 1/2 tsp 3/4 tsp 1 tsp 1 1/2 tsp 2 tsp      
Chewable tabs (12.5mg)     1 tab 1 1/2 tab 2 tab 2 tab 2 tab 2 tab
Tabs (25mg)         1 tab 1 tab 1 tab 1 tab

Cough and Cold Medicines
The FDA and pediatricians do not recommend the use of decongestants or cough suppressants in children under 6 years old. It is unclear whether these products have any benefit for young children, and recent studies show that there may be significant side effects. If you choose to use these products in older children, please visit the manufacturers’ websites for dosing information and for more information on their products. Some common brands include Pediacare, Triaminic, Dimetapp, Robitussin, and Sudafed.

Conversion Chart
You can give liquid medicines to children by using either a teaspoon or a syringe (usually measured in cc or mL). Conversions are below. Please do not use any available teaspoon to measure the medication volume. Use a medicine dropper or a syringe instead.

Milliliters (mL) cc Tablespoon
1/2 tsp 2.5 mL 2.5 cc    
1 tsp 5 mL 5 cc 1/3 tbsp  
1 1/2 tsp 7.5 mL 7.5 cc 1/2 tbsp  
2 tsp 10 mL 10 cc    
3 tsp 15 mL 15 cc 1 tbsp 1/2 oz
6 tsp 30 mL 30 cc   1 oz