When your baby is sick or in pain, parents often feel hopeless and turn to things like aspirin. Your child cannot tell you what is wrong with them, whether it is a stomach upset or a cold, and you often have to wait until symptoms appear to try and figure out how to cure it.
Giving your child medicine can be a nerve-wracking experience for most parents. What kind do you give? How much do you give? How often do you give them medicine? What if you give too much?
When it comes to fevers and pain, some parents want to turn to the medicine they currently use (but in baby form) or what they used as a child. This includes aspirin. But while aspirin may have been a popular medicine to feed to babies a long time ago, it is highly frowned upon by many doctors today.
In fact, the only children today who should be taking aspirin are those who suffer from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Can I Give My Baby Aspirin? Answer: Not Recommended
Aspirin or medications that contain aspirin should be avoided until your child is an adult. Using aspirin as a baby or child has been linked to Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome can be fatal and usually attacks the brain and liver. While aspirin itself does not cause Reye’s syndrome, children who have taken aspirin while having a fever or virus have been known to contract the disease.
When your baby is sick, most doctors recommend giving your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). Keep in mind, however, that these medications are usually not intended for children under two months of age. If your newborn is sick, you must contact their physician to find out what type of medication, if any, they can take.
When it comes to giving your child medicine, you need to make sure you are giving him or her the correct dosage. Giving your child too little medicine will not help them with their aches or pains, but giving them too much medicine can result in an overdose. Finding out the correct dosage for your child usually depends on their age and weight. Most dosage recommendations can be found on the label of the medicine, but to be safe, you must always consult with your child’s physician before giving him or her any medication.
As for the frequency, this will usually be found on the medication’s label as well. Some medicines can be re-given to your child every four hours while others are every eight. Some doctors even recommend alternating the type of medication you give to help your child’s body from becoming “used to” one certain medication. Plus, a prolonged use of any one medication is sure to have side effects.
Change in Trends
In the United States, infant versions of medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen were available at most grocery stores, big box stores or pharmacies. Recently, however, manufacturers have stopped producing “infant” versions and are only producing “children’s” and “adult”. The concentration in infant and children’s medicine were different, which required different dosages of each depending on your child’s age.
If a child was given the correct dose of infants, giving them the same dosage of children’s could result in an overdose. To cure this confusion, and possible overdoses, manufacturers have started producing only children’s, and the correct dosage will depend on your child’s age and weight.
In Case of Emergency
Since an overdose is possible, it is a good idea to keep the phone number to poison control in a spot where it is easily accessible. This way, should you find that you gave your child too much medication, you can contact them right away for help. Usually, they will send you and your child to the hospital.
Remember, when your child is sick, you need to avoid aspirin. The risks of taking aspirin as a child far outweigh any reward. To comfort your child when they are ill or in pain, you should use acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but only if your child is over two months old. You can check the label on the medication for dosage instructions. This usually is based on your child’s age and weight.
If you have any questions about giving your child medication, the dosage, type or frequency, you should consult your child’s physician. He or she will be able to better discuss your concerns and questions in more thorough detail.