Infant bodies are different than adult bodies. They need different kinds of food and different kinds of mental stimulation. They also need different kinds of medicine. Adults have robust livers and kidneys that can handle a wide variety of medicines and fully developed brains and other organs that won’t be affected by the drugs. Babies, on the other hand, are still developing. They can’t handle the medications we take as adults. In addition, they need very small doses compared to adults and the effects of giving the baby too much medication can be very dangerous.
Of course, babies still get sick. They still have aches and pains. What medications are safe for little ones?
Ask A Doctor
This guide can give you an idea of medicines that may be safe or unsafe for your child, but you should always consult a doctor before giving your child any kind of medication. Each baby is different and may have different health needs.
In addition, you should always check the box or bottle of any medication you consider giving your little one. The label should clearly state the safety and dosage information for each age range. If it doesn’t clearly state that it’s safe for babies, you’ll need to check with your doctor.
Finally, you’ll need to make sure the dose is correct. Never guess or estimate the dose. Measure it out carefully and administer it according to the directions that come with the medicine. Use the measuring tools that come with the medicine – the spoons in your kitchen aren’t necessarily teaspoon-sized and can give you an incorrect measurement. Giving the baby too much or too little can have dangerous side effects.
If your baby needs more than one medication, remember to check the ingredients of each one. Some will have overlapping ingredients, meaning the baby could be getting too much if you use both medicines. Ask your doctor how to adjust the doses to make sure your child isn’t getting too much of an ingredient.
Infants and Toddlers
When your baby is brand new, it can be very difficult to find a medication that’s safe. In most cases, you’ll need to talk to your doctor to find an appropriate dose. Medications aren’t usually tested for safety in children under 2 years old because of ethical concerns, but that can make it tough to treat your little one’s fever or cough.
If your little one is sick, your best bet is to make an appointment to see the pediatrician. They often have baby-friendly medicines in the office or can point you to the right drug for your child. It’s important to seek treatment because an untreated illness can progress and become very dangerous – babies’ immune systems aren’t as strong as ours and they won’t necessarily be able to fight off a cold or flu.
Children start to have more options for medications when they hit 4-6 years of age. At this point, they may be able to take Children’s Tylenol for pain and fever. They may also be able to take expectorants to help loosen mucus in the throat and chest. However, cough-suppressants and certain decongestants are unsafe for children, so you’ll need to check with your doctor.
Medicines That Are Not Safe For Infants
Some medicines that adults commonly use are very dangerous for children. These include:
- Aspirin – Aspirin can cause a dangerous disease called “Reye’s Syndrome” in children younger than 19. Remember to check the label for “salicylate” or “acetylsalicylic acid” – these are just different names for aspirin.
- Anti-nausea medication – These drugs can cause complications and should not be used unless your doctor tells you to do so. Most babies and small children will recover from stomachaches without medication. If you’re worried that your child is vomiting enough to become dehydrated, contact your doctor.
- Any adult medication – Adult medications are formulated for adult bodies. Even if they have the same ingredients as some children’s medications, those ingredients are in different forms, concentrations, and amounts.
What To Do If Your Baby Is Sick
It’s miserable to know that your little one isn’t feeling well. It’s only natural to want to help. However, you have to be extremely careful about what medications you give to your baby.
The best things you can do are monitoring your baby’s condition and providing comfort. If your child has a fever over 100 degrees or is becoming dehydrated, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should also seek medical attention if the fever lasts for more than a day or two or if your child is not alert or responsive.
A sick child is a scary experience. When in doubt, call your doctor.