Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) Dosing

(Updated 5/18)

The tables below provide recommended dosage charts for acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil). Here are some important general guidelines for using these products:

  • You are treating your child, not a number on the thermometer. Your goal in treating a fever is to make your child comfortable, not to make the number lower.
  • Whenever possible, use your child’s most current weight when choosing an appropriate dose of medication.
  • Do not give both acetaminophen and ibuprofen to a child with fever. It is OK to “tag team” a dose of the second medicine on a one-time basis if you are having trouble making your child comfortable, but this should not be a recurrent procedure. Please discuss this with your physician.
  • Temperature should be measured rectally in children under 6 months; ear (otic) thermometers should be reserved for children over the age of 6 months. An oral thermometer is not appropriate until your child can hold it under his tongue for several minutes without biting (usually around age 5).
  • Never give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to an infant under 3 months of age. In addition, do not give ibuprofen to an infant under the age of 6 months without specific direction from a physician.
  • Acetaminophen rectal suppositories can be purchased at your pharmacy without a prescription. They are helpful to have on hand in case your child has fever or pain and is vomiting and can’t keep down acetaminophen by mouth. Use K-Y Jelly or Vaseline to lubricate the suppository and insert in the child’s rectum every 4 hours as necessary.

***over the course of 2017 Tylenol will be transitioning to a 160 mg CHEWABLE tablet (to be consistent with other formulations), please make sure to check mg dosing on the package.***

Ibuprofen doses are calculated according to the reason for the medicine, including height of fever (rectal/ear) and treatment of pain. If you are taking your child’s temperature orally, add one degree to the actual reading to determine the number you should use above. Do not give ibuprofen to a child with chickenpox.

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