When Can My Baby Take Tylenol?

Baby has a fever

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You arrive home from your baby's 2-month well check feeling exhausted. So far, you haven't gotten used to watching their little face crumple up and hearing their wails when they get a shot. You and your partner are joking lightly about whether shots are harder for the baby or the parents when your hand brushes across your sleeping little one's cheek. They are burning up.

Getting a fever after being immunized is not uncommon, but fevers can be dangerous for babies. You may wonder whether you can give your baby Tylenol (acetaminophen) to help bring a fever down.

Tylenol is safe to give to babies for pain or fever under your pediatrician's direction. Just make sure to give the appropriate dose for your child's weight. "Babies can take Tylenol as soon as they are born if the doctor believes it's necessary," notes Molly O’Shea, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician, consultant, parent coach, and speaker.

What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol is a pain reliever and fever reducer. No one knows exactly how it works yet, but we know that it has some similarities to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs block enzymes called prostaglandins from increasing blood flow and white blood cell count, which would otherwise result in pain and inflammation. Tylenol is not considered anti-inflammatory, but it could work in a similar way.

Baby Tylenol is in a liquid form and is administered with an oral syringe.

When Is It Safe for My Baby to Take Tylenol?

Tylenol itself is safe for babies from birth. "As long as they are taking milk, they can have Tylenol in safe amounts," says Dr. O'Shea.

Babies can be given Tylenol at any age, but you should speak with a doctor if your baby is under 12 weeks old. At this age, fever may indicate a condition that needs immediate treatment, so it's important to check for that first. If there is nothing serious, your pediatrician will instruct you to give Tylenol.

The one time that your pediatrician may advise you to give Tylenol to a baby under 12 weeks without an in-person evaluation is after their 2-month shots. "The exception is when a baby is 8 weeks of age or older, receives vaccinations at the 2-month well exam visit, and has a fever afterward," says Maria Ortiz-Tweed, MD, a Florida-based pediatrician with over 20 years experience. "In this scenario, Tylenol may be given to treat a fever that started within 24 hours of receiving vaccinations."

Every baby is different. Be sure to consult with a pediatrician if you have any questions about giving your infant Tylenol.

Why Choose Tylenol For Your Baby?

Tylenol is one of the only pain and fever medications that young infants can take. Whether they get an ear infection, have a tooth coming in, or come down with a fever, Tylenol can help your baby feel better when they are uncomfortable. Unlike other similar medications, Tylenol is safe to give to babies of any age, provided that you stick to the dose for their weight.

Safety Precautions

There are a few very important safety precautions to keep in mind when administrating Tylenol to your baby.

Check Other Products for Acetaminophen

Tylenol is safe for babies, but giving too much can be dangerous. "If an overdose occurs, it may cause liver damage, and in rare cases, it may lead to death," cautions Dr. Ortiz-Tweed.

Acetaminophen is sold under other brand names, so check the labels of any other medications to make sure you are not doubling up. Other drugs may also contain acetaminophen. Do not give your baby any other products with acetaminophen as an ingredient while they are taking Tylenol. It is generally not recommended for children under 6 to take medications with mixed ingredients.

Dose Appropriately

It is very important to follow the dosages carefully when giving your baby Tylenol. Babies who weigh from 6 to 11 pounds should take 1.25 milliliters of infant Tylenol through a syringe. The dosage for babies 12 to 17 pounds is 2.5 milliliters, and the dosage for babies 18 to 23 pounds is 2.75 milliliters.

It is best to use your baby's exact weight to figure out what dosage they need. But if for some reason you do not know their weight, you can use their age.

If the pain or fever persists or comes back, you can repeat the dose every four to six hours. However, you should not exceed more than four doses in a 24-hour period. This means that if you are giving Tylenol every four hours, you need to stop after four doses and wait for at least 12 hours before dosing again.

Give Only Infant-Specific Products

There is only one type of Tylenol that is safe for infants to take; it will be labeled as infant's acetaminophen. This is a liquid medicine given by an oral syringe.

Children's acetaminophen also comes in a liquid form, but babies should not take this Tylenol. In addition, babies should never have Tylenol in any other form, such as chewable tablets, dissolvable packets, or adult tablets.

Conversely, children older than 2 should not take infant Tylenol, because the dosing for this age applies only to children's Tylenol.

Monitor for Allergic Reaction

It is possible for infants to be allergic to Tylenol. Watch for blisters, rash, or reddening skin. Seek medical assistance right away if you see any of these symptoms after giving Tylenol to your baby.

A Word From Verywell

Babies can safely take Tylenol for fever or pain. If your baby is under 12 weeks, however, only give them Tylenol if instructed to by a pediatrician. At this age, every fever should be recorded in a medical setting to make sure that your baby doesn't need to be treated for a condition the fever is a symptom of.

Make sure to give the correct dose for your baby's weight. If needed, you can repeat the dose every four to six hours, but do not give more than four doses in a 24-hour period. As always, reach out to your pediatrician with any questions or concerns about giving your baby Tylenol.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fever in Newborns: Treatment for Babies Who Otherwise Seem Well. American Academy of Pediatrics.

  2. Acetaminophen Dosing Tables for Fever and Pain in Children. American Academy of Pediatrics.

  3. Gerriets V, Anderson J, Nappe TM. Acetaminophen. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022.

  4. Drug Facts: Pain and Fever Infants Acetaminophen. National Institutes of Health.

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.