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"Is it okay to give children over the counter pain medicine?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it okay to give children over the counter pain medicine?


I have a 5 year old daughter and she bumped her shin very hard the other day and has a bruise. She keeps complaining about the pain. Is it okay to give her Tylenol or Advil for the pain? What's the difference between children's Tylenol and regular Tylenol? Why can't I just give her what I take?


I'm sorry your daughter is having pain from her bruise. You should follow up with your pediatrician to ensure that there are no other serious concerns and that she does not have any medical problems that would prevent her from taking pain medications. In general, children can take pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil (also known as ibuprofen and Motrin). However, it is very important that children are given the correct dosages of medications at the correct time intervals as to not develop toxicities from the medications. Nevertheless, it is imperative to ensure that your daughter does not have any other significant concerns as etiology to her shin pain. The difference between children's and regular Tylenol is the concentrations of the active component acetaminophen. Because children get a smaller dose of the medication based on their body weight, the children's formulation is less concentrated than the adult variation. It is extremely important not to give your daughter regular Tylenol because it is much easier to overdose on the medication with high concentrations. Again, while children's Tylenol and Advil are generally ok to give children, it is important to affirm with your pediatrician that there are no other concerning symptoms to your daughter's pain and that she does not have any other medical problems that could be contraindications to the use of the medications.

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