We Need to Stop Guessing When Medicating Our Babies

baby tylenol doseHow many times has this happened to you? It's the middle of the night and your baby wakes up crying, with a fever. You grab the infant Tylenol and have no idea how much to give your hot little guy or gal. If you're like me, you search your memory bank for what the pediatrician said at your last visit about dosing according to your baby's weight. Then take a wild guess.

We all know that isn't the safest way to fight a fever or offer pain relief, and now the FDA is looking into taking action on clear acetaminophen packaging so parents aren't in the dark when dosing their children under the age of two. Hooray! And -- why did this take so long?


You're probably familiar with the back of a bottle of infant or child acetaminophen. The one that offers a big blank box when your child is under the age of two, and the bold statement to consult your child's doctor. Which, of course, we all should do. But when you're at a baby well-visit, and you're all about finding out how much your little one has grown, and talking vaccines, you may not remember to ask for -- much less, write down -- the proper dose of acetaminophen for your baby. Additionally, your pediatrician may not be up at 3am, when your sweaty baby is screaming his head off.

We need guidelines that are readily available during those witching hours when everyone is sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly. Of course we should be talking to our child's physician, but having specific guidelines on the package of pain reliever, is absolutely necessary to prevent overdosing in our tiny babies. Who are, of course, much more susceptible to the effects of medication in their little bodies.

I've guessed on a pain reliever dose for my baby before, you probably have to, and thank goodness to no ill effect. But just because I've been lucky, doesn't mean everyone is going to escape unscathed.

Do you guess at your baby's dosage of acetaminophen?


Image via perpetualplum/Flickr

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