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Paracetamol Dosages for Children

When managing your family’s health, including pain management, always start with a conversation with your pharmacist or doctor.

The right need

Paracetamol Dosages for Children

It’s hard to see your little ones fall ill. But drug dosages for children have a few differences to bear in mind when you want to give your child painkillers such as paracetamol.

As children weigh a lot less than adults, they’ll need a smaller dosage of paracetamol and other medication than adults do. Whether your little one is suffering from fever, earache or cold & flu symptoms, knowing the correct paracetamol dosage for your child can help you treat it right.

You should make sure to read all information included with medication before use. The main thing you’ll need to know to find the right dosage is your child’s weight. Once you know this it’s also essential that any paracetamol child dosage shouldn’t exceed four uses in 24 hours and is only given once every 4-6 hours. 1

Paracetamol dosage for 1-5 year olds (Paracetamol 24 mg/mL or 120mg/5mL)

To find the right children’s paracetamol dosage with suspension paracetamol, you simply need to measure the right amount for their weight as per the table below. As a typical measure, children between one and five weigh between 9 and 20kg.

Paracetamol suspension dosage (1-5 years old)2

Age Average Weight Dose How Often
1-2 years  10-12 kg 6-8 ml Do not take more frequently than once every 4 hours and do not exceed more than four doses in 24 hours (maximum 60mg/kg). Do not take for more than 3 days without asking your doctor.
2-3 years 12-14 kg 8-9 ml
3-4 years 14-16 kg 9-10 ml
4-5 years 16-18 kg 10-11 ml

You should expect to see the pain relief or reduction of children’s symptoms of fever within 30 minutes to an hour of their first paracetamol dosage.3 Paracetamol can be taken with or without food4 and does not irritate on an empty stomach as ibuprofen can in some cases.4

How to measure paracetamol dosages?

Using an oral syringe makes measuring the right drug dosage for children precise and accurate. This method of delivery also allows you to give liquid paracetamol to infants more easily. You should always use a medical measuring device such as an oral syringe rather than a household spoon as they can vary in size. 

When is paracetamol unsuitable for children?

If your child has been diagnosed with liver or kidney issues you should always check with your doctor before giving them paracetamol.5

If you have a baby older than one month, you can give them liquid paracetamol to relieve fever after vaccinations and their dosage must be calibrated to their weight. These suspensions start from 24mg/ml and doctors can advise on the correct dose for their weight.7

Paracetamol is a commonly-used painkiller used to relieve teething symptoms for babies. Another easy way to comfort teething babies is to gently rub their gums with a clean finger.6

Can you combine paracetamol with other medications?

Whenever you give a paracetamol dosage to children, you must avoid giving them any other medication containing paracetamol. This may be any of a range of cough and cold medication, so always read the labels carefully to avoid any risk of accidentally going over recommended dosages.

The right need

Paracetamol dosage for 5 to 12 year olds 

As your children get older and reach a higher weight, they will need a higher volume of paracetamol as per the table below to effectively relieve any symptoms of discomfort. 

Paracetamol suspension dosage (5-12 years old) - Paracetamol 48 mg/mL7or 240mg/5mL

Age Average Weight Dose How Often
5-6 years  18-20 kg 6 ml Do not take more frequently than once every 4 hours and do not exceed more than four doses in 24 hours (maximum 60mg/kg). Do not take for more than 3 days without asking your doctor.
6-7 years 20-22 kg 6-7 ml
7-8 years 22-28 kg 7-8 ml
8-9 years 25-28 kg 8 ml
9-10 years 28-32 kg 9-10 ml
10-11 years 32-35 kg 10-11 ml
11-12 years 36-41 kg 11-13 ml

 

How do you safely give 5 to 12-year-olds paracetamol? 

Another thing to keep in mind is your child’s overall health. If your child is underweight or malnourished they are at higher risk of toxicity.10

One easy way to make sure that you stay in line with medical dosage guidance is to write down the quantity and time you gave your child their dose of paracetamol.

The right need

Chewable paracetamol dosage for 2 to 12 year olds (Paracetamol 120mg)

If your child is over the age of two and moved on to eating solids, chewable paracetamol tablets may be an easier option than liquid paracetamol.

Always remember that chewable tablets aren’t recommended for children under the age of two due to other methods being easier for them to swallow.

If you decide to give a young child chewable paracetamol, make sure you watch them chew it to avoid any risk. Chewable paracetamol should also dissolve in the mouth but supervision is recommended if your child recently started eating solids.

If you administer the correct paracetamol dosage for a child11, it should lower the chance of any side effects. However, you must be aware that dosage guidance can vary by country so make sure that you have locally accurate information.

Once you’ve found the right quantity from the dosing table or guidance on the packaging, children’s paracetamol is a helpful tool for common problems like headaches, stomach aches, cold symptoms and feverishness.

Age Average Weight Dose (Paracetamol 120mg/tablet) How Often
3-6 years 14-20 kg 2 tablets Do not take more frequently than once every 4 hours and do not exceed more than four doses in 24 hours (60 mg/kg). Do not take for more than 3 days without asking your doctor.    
6-9 years 20-28 kg 2-3 tablets
9-11 years 28-36 kg 3-4 tablets
11-12 years 36-41 kg 4-5 tablets

Suppository dosage for children

For children with nauseous symptoms that might be having trouble keeping down food or drink, paracetamol suppositories can be a handy alternative to treat pain and reduce pain and high temperature (or fever).

Before using paracetamol suppositories it’s also essential to know the right drug dosage for children. Remember that national guidelines can vary, so make sure you have the most relevant information for you.

Check out our table below to find out what’s right for your child: 

6 months to 5 years old (Paracetamol 125mg per suppository)8

Age Average Weight Dose How Often
6 months - 3 years 8-14kg 1 suppository Max. of 4 doses in one day (60mg/kg), or within any 24-hour period    
4-5 years 16-18kg 2 suppositories

5 to 12 years old (250mg Paracetamol per suppository)

Age Average Weight Dose How Often
5-8 years 18-25kg 1 suppository Max. of 4 doses in one day (60mg/kg), or within any 24-hour period    
9-12 years 28-41kg 2 suppositories

If your child has feverish symptoms make sure you give them plenty of fluids. If your child’s fever persists for more than 24 hours (after 4 doses) make sure you seek medical advice to check there isn’t a serious or infectious cause.9

Before giving your child a suppository, wash your hands, moisten the suppository and push it into their bottom with the thick end first.10

Before giving children any painkillers or medication, a chat with your doctor is the right place to start. This guide should help you know How to Treat It Right and always be sure you’re giving children the right dosage. Whatever’s on your mind, we can put it right.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-children/

Dosage Calculator, Panadol, https://www.panadol.com/en-au/products/children/colourfree-suspension-1-to-5-years/, accessed 13.09.21

3  Paracetamol GDS (v7) – P46

4 Paracetamol GDS (v7) – P14

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1052185/can-i-give-paracetamol-or-ibuprofen-to-my-baby

Paracetamol GDS (v7) – P51

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/babys-development/teething/tips-for-helping-your-teething-baby/

7 Panadol Colour-Free Suspension, Panadol, https://www.panadol.com/en-au/products/children/colourfree-suspension-5-to-12-years/, accessed 13.09.21

10 Paracetamol GDS (v7) – P51

11 https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-children/

12 Panadol Chewable Tablets 3+, Panadol, https://www.panadol.com/en-au/products/children/chewable-tablets-3-plus/, accessed 13.09.21

8 Panadol Suppositories 6 Months to 5 Years, Panadol, https://www.panadol.com/en -au/products/children/suppositories-6-months-to-5-years/,  accessed 13.09.21

9 Paracetamol GDS (v7) – P22

10 How to give your child suppositories, NHS, https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/conditions-and-treatments/medicines-information/how-give-your-child-suppositories/ accessed 13.09.21

 

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