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Here is my recommended list of supplies and medications that every family with children should keep on hand at all times. Use as necessary and directed, but remember that patience and TLC are all that is needed for the majority of childhood self-limited illnesses. Apply liberally!

  • A working thermometer with fresh batteries. Use a digital rectal thermometer in children under 6 months of age.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the age-appropriate form. Do not give to an infant under 2 months of age without speaking to a physician.
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) in the age-appropriate form. Do not give to an infant under 6 months of age without speaking to a physician.
  • An antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions, hives, itching, etc.
  • Neosporin or other triple antibiotic OTC cream
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream (anti-inflammatory for skin lesions such as bug bites, itchy rashes, mild eczema)
  • Salt water/saline nose drops and a suction bulb for infants (can be used to loosen nasal congestion to make it easier for infants with colds to breathe)
  • A cool mist vaporizer for coughs, croup, congestion.
  • An antifungal cream (Lotrimin, Monistat, etc. to be used for athlete's foot, ringworm or yeast diaper rashes in infantsâ€"these look like red diaper rashes with pimples around the periphery of the rash)
  • Pedialyte or other electrolyte replacement solution for vomiting and/or diarrhea. This is not actually a medicine, but something you give instead of regular food/drink for a child who has a gastrointestinal illness.
  • An ice pack and ace wrap for older children who may experience ankle sprains or other injuries.
  • A medicine teaspoon/dropper with accurate measurements. You should not use a kitchen teaspoon to dispense medicines.
  • A variety of sizes of gauze pads and bandages to care for wounds.
  • Betadine or Epsom salts for soaking and cleaning wounds.

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Tylenol/Motrin Dosage Information (in PDF format)

Medications Dosages Medications Dosages

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is available without a prescription. Children older than 2 months of age can be given any one of the acetaminophen products. They all have the same dosage. Give the correct dosage for your child's weight every 4 to 6 hours.

*Manufacturers are changing the concentration of acetaminophen for infants.  These new concentrations will have different dosing directions, but you may find both concentrations on store shelves. (Older concentration: 80mg/0.8ml or 80mg/1ml, Newer concentration 160mg/5ml)*

Weight

Concentration

Dosage

Every

8-11 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

1.25ml (¼ tsp)

4-6 hrs

12-17 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

2.5ml (½ tsp)

4-6 hrs

18-23 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

3.75ml (¾ tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

1 + ½  tablets

4-6 hrs

24-35 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

5ml (1 tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

2 tablets

4-6 hrs

24-35 lbs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

1 tablet

4-6 hrs

36-47 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

7.5ml (1 + ½ tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

3 tablets

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

1 + ½ tablets

4-6 hrs

48-59 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

10ml (2 tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

4 tablets

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

2 tablets

4-6 hrs

60-71 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

12.5ml (2 + ½ tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

5 tablets

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

2 + ½ tablets

4-6 hrs

Adult Tablets (325mg)

1 tablet

4-6 hrs

72-95 lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

15ml (3 tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

6 tablets

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

3 tablets

4-6 hrs

Adult Tablets (325mg)

1 + ½ tablets

4-6 hrs

96+ lbs

Liquid (160mg/5ml)

20ml (4 tsp)

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (80mg)

8 tablets

4-6 hrs

Chewable Tablets (160mg)

4 tablets

4-6 hrs

Adult Tablets (325mg)

2 tablets

4-6 hrs

Abbreviations: mg = milligrams, ml = milliliter, tsp = teaspoon, lbs = pounds

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Suppositories: Acetaminophen is also available as a rectal suppository in 120-mg, 325-mg, and 650-mg dosages. Suppositories are useful if a child with a fever is vomiting often or having seizures caused by the fever. Use the same dose as listed above for the suppository. Most suppositories can be cut (for example, cut in half) to supply the right dose for your child's age.

 

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is available without a prescription. Give the correct dosage for your child's weight every 6 to 8 hours.

 

*Only for ages 6 mos and up*

Weight

Concentration

Dosage

Every

12-17 lbs

Liquid (50mg/1.25ml)

1/2 dropper (1.25ml)

6-8 hrs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

2.5ml

6-8 hrs

18-23 lbs

Liquid (50mg/1.25ml)

1 dropper (1.875ml)

6-8 hrs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

3.75ml (¾ tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

1 + ½  tablets

6-8 hrs

24-35 lbs

Liquid (50mg/1.25ml)

2- 1/2 droppers (2.5ml)

6-8 hrs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

5ml (1 tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

2 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

1 tablet

6-8 hrs

36-47 lbs

Liquid (50mg/1.25ml)

3 - 1/2 droppers (3.75ml)

6-8 hrs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

7.5ml (1 + ½ tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

3 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

1 + ½ tablets

6-8 hrs

48-59 lbs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

10ml (2 tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

4 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

2 tablets

6-8 hrs

60-71 lbs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

12.5ml (2 + ½ tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

5 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

2 + ½ tablets

6-8 hrs

Adult Tablets (200mg)

1 tablet

6-8 hrs

72-95 lbs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

15ml (3 tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

6 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

3 tablets

6-8 hrs

Adult Tablets (200mg)

1 + ½ tablets

6-8 hrs

96+ lbs

Liquid (100mg/5ml)

20ml (4 tsp)

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (50mg)

8 tablets

6-8 hrs

Chewable Tablets (100mg)

4 tablets

6-8 hrs

Adult Tablets (200mg)

2 tablets

6-8 hrs

Abbreviations: mg = milligrams, ml = milliliter, tsp = teaspoon, lbs = pounds

Avoid Aspirin:  Children (through age 21 years) should not take aspirin if they have chickenpox or influenza (any cold, cough, or sore throat symptoms). This recommendation is based on several studies that have linked aspirin to Reye's syndrome, a severe encephalitis-like illness. Most pediatricians have stopped using aspirin for fevers associated with any illness.