Ibuprofen For Kids: Its Uses, Dosage And Side Effects

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Kids usually have an active lifestyle – they play, jump, ride bikes, and run around. A few adventurous ones also climb trees and go hiking with friends or family. It’s fun while it lasts. But at the end of the day, when it is time for bed, the aches and sprains in the body start to show up.

When I have body aches or a headache, I pop in an ibuprofen. But how about an ibuprofen for children? Yes, ibuprofen can be given to children and babies aged six months or more, for treating a variety of symptoms including fever and pains in the body. However, the quantity given to children varies from that of adults. MomJunction tells you everything about the anti-inflammatory drug called ibuprofen and about the right dosages for kids.

 Read: Viral Fever In Children ]

Is Ibuprofen Safe For Kids?

Yes. Ibuprofen is a safe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be an over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic. Advil Brufen and Motrin are the common names or brand names by which it is available in the market.

The drug is safe for children, but we recommend that you give this medication only after consulting your doctor because it is important to know about the exact dosages of ibuprofen for children to prevent any accidental drug overdose.

Ibuprofen is available in different forms. For infants and babies, oral drops are ideal, and for older children, chewable tablets are best.

* Please note that ibuprofen should not be given to babies aged less than six months unless specifically prescribed by the doctor.

** Also note that ibuprofen can trigger an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to Aspirin (1).

Uses Of Ibuprofen

You can give Ibuprofen to children for:

Pain relief – Ibuprofen is mainly used to alleviate headaches, toothache, muscle aches, and body pain caused due to any medical condition. In teenagers, it may also be used to fight the pain caused due to menstrual cramps, and in older people, due to arthritis.

Fever – Is ibuprofen used for fever? Yes, as mentioned earlier, ibuprofen is also used to treat fever, especially in children. The drug sort of adjusts the thermostat of the body to control the body temperature and bring down the fever.

Inflammation – Unlike paracetamol, which is also used to treat fever and sometimes pain, Ibuprofen also helps in reducing inflammation. As an NSAID, ibuprofen regulates the hormone levels in the body, at times blocking excessive production of the chemical causing the inflammation.

[ Read: Bacterial Infection In Children ]

Ibuprofen Dosage For Children of All Ages

How much ibuprofen can you give a child?

Whether you choose Motrin or Advil, the dosage (measured in milligrams) of ibuprofen you give to the child should depend on his or her weight and the condition you are treating. So the same child might be recommended different dosages for fever and pain relief or inflammation.

Keep reading for detailed information on the right dosages of ibuprofen for kids.

1. Ibuprofen dosage for infants and babies

Children under the age of six months should not be given ibuprofen unless directed by the physician. Also, only the doctor should determine the dosage for an infant. Make sure that you give only as much as prescribed and not more.

CHILD’S WEIGHT IN LB (kg)12-17lb
(5 – 7.5kg)
Approximate Age6-11 months12-23 months
Dose (mg)50 mg75 mg
Infant Drops (ml)1.25 ml1.875 ml
Oral syrup 100 mg(ml)2.5 ml4

For babies over six months, the dosage should depend on the:

  • weight and the body temperature for fever. For body temperatures less than 102.5°F (39.2°C), the dosage is usually is 5mg per kilogram of body weight. For higher body temperatures, the dosage usually is 10mg per kg of body weight. pain type. It is usually a maximum of 10mg per body weight, up to 40mg per kg in a day.
  • Babies may also get affected by a type of juvenile arthritis, although rare, which results in joint pains. Ibuprofen may be recommended for pain relief. Dosage, however, should be as prescribed by the doctor.

2. Ibuprofen dosage for toddlers

Children aged two years or more should be given ibuprofen as prescribed by the doctor. Usually, the dosage of ibuprofen for toddlers is also based on their weight and not age.

CHILD’S WEIGHT IN LB (kg)24-35lb
Age 2-3 years
Dose (mg)100
Infant Drops (ml)2.5
Oral syrup 100 mg(ml)5
Chewable 50 mg tablets2

The dosage may be a little less or more depending on what the medication is being given for. Always check with the doctor before giving the medicine to the kid.

[ Read: Motrin Dosage For Kids ]

3. Ibuprofen dosage for children

Children aged four or more usually get a higher dosage of ibuprofen.

48-59lb (22-27kg)60-71lb
Approximate Age 4-5 years6-8 years9-10 years11-12 years
Dose (mg)150200250300
Infant Drops (ml)3.755
Oral syrup 100 mg(ml)7.51012.515
Chewable 50 mg tablets3456
Junior Strength 100 mg22.53
Adult 200 mg111.5
  • For fever and menstrual cramps (older children), the dosage should be determined by the doctor.
  • For mild to moderate pains in the body, the ideal dosage is 10mg per kilogram of body weight, up to a maximum of 40mg per kilogram of body weight in a day.
  • For juvenile arthritis, the ideal dosage ranges between 30mg to 40mg per kilogram every day. The dosage is divided into three or four smaller dosages that you should give at intervals of six to eight hours.

Remember that the figures mentioned in these tables are the recommended dosages keeping the average weight of children in a specific age range. So, the actual dosage that the child needs may be more than or less than what is recommended in the table.

4. Ibuprofen dosage for teens

Teens are usually considered as adults when it comes to determining the dosage of medicine. However, you should also take their age into consideration. More often than not, you can give your teen adult dosages of ibuprofen for fever, pain, or inflammation.

(43kg and more)
Approximate Age 13 years & above
Dose400 mg
Oral syrup 100 mg20 ml
Chewable 50 mg tablets8
Junior Strength 100 mg4
Adult 200 mg2
  • For mild to moderate pain and menstrual cramps, you can give 400mg of ibuprofen every four hours, or as needed.
  • For juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (in kids aged 16 or less), the recommended dosage is 1200mg, to a maximum of 3200mg every day.

The dosage information provided here is for your reference only. The actual dose of ibuprofen that your child takes should be determined by the doctor.

[ Read: Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis ]

Side Effects Of Ibuprofen

Alongside the desired effect, ibuprofen may also have some side effects, regardless of the dosage you give to the child. Common side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, or difficult bowel movement
  • Acidity, heartburn, or bloating of stomach
  • Excessive belching and passing gas
  • Change in color and output of urine
  • Pale or itchy skin, rashes, or lesions
  • Shortness of breath, noisy breathing, trouble breathing when at rest or when exerted
  • Unusual bleeding, tiredness, or weakness
  • Swelling of hands, feet, ankles, and face
  • Discomfort in the chest, throat, or upper abdomen

Less common side-effects include soreness of stomach and abdominal cramps. The medication may also have some of the following side-effects, although these are rare.

  • Leg, back, or stomach pain
  • Joint or muscle pain, muscle twitching
  • Blurred vision, change in vision
  • Yellow eyes and skin; red, irritated eyes
  • Blood in urine, painful or difficult urination
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools; clay-colored stools
  • Agitation, confusion, irritability, hostility, or depression
  • Chills, fever with or without chills
  • Chest pain, burning feeling in chest or stomach
  • Hives or welts, blistering, peeling, loosening of skin
  • Constipation, change in color of stools
  • Dry mouth, bleeding gums
  • Difficulty breathing, swallowing
  • Lethargy, extreme fatigue
  • Change in pulse rate
  • General body swelling, puffiness, or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Rash, red skin lesions, often with a purple center, redness of skin
  • Itching, pinpoint red spots on skin
  • Abdominal discomfort, pain, cramping or burning
  • Vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips, unpleasant breath odorLoss of appetite, stomach upset, severe and continuing nausea

There may be other side effects such as hair loss, nosebleeds, irregular breathing, and wheezing. In rare cases, using ibuprofen may also lead to seizures and coma.

[ Read: Bad Breath in Children ]

Precautions For Taking Ibuprofen

Even though it is safe for the child to take ibuprofen, you should not give the medicine to him or her too often. Besides the frequency, you should also take care of the dosage. Overdosing of ibuprofen can result in intestinal kidney and stomach related problems. So always check for the doctor’s opinion before giving any medication to the child.

Some of the important things to remember before giving ibuprofen to your child are:

  1. Always check for the expiration date of the medicine before giving it to the kid.
  1. If your child is taking any other medications, do check with the doctor if it is safe to give them ibuprofen. Some drug combinations can be harmful, and even fatal.
  1. Always use the syringe, cup, or dropper that comes with the liquid or oral drops when administering the medicine.
  1. Check for the concentration in syrups and the mg of tablets to give the right dosage.
  1. The child’s temperature must be kept in mind to determine the dosage of ibuprofen that you should give to the child.
  1. If your child swallows ibuprofen and vomits it later, do not give another dosage. But if he spits out the dosage without swallowing it, give him the same dosage again. However, let the child calm down and relax before you try again.
  1. Teenagers and older kids taking a tablet (not chewable) should do so with a glass full of water.
  1. Whether you give the tablet for fever or pain, do not let the child lie down until after ten minutes of taking medicine.
  1. As far as possible, give the child the lowest dose necessary. If in doubt, always ask your doctor about it.

[ Read: Painkillers For Children ]

Although ibuprofen is an over-the-counter drug, remember that even a simple, everyday medication can become poisonous when overused.

What measures do you take before giving ibuprofen to your kid? Share the tips in our comments section.

Here is the complete chart of the recommended dosages for children.

Child’s weight in pounds12-1718-2324-3536-4748-5960-7172-9596+
Approximate Age 6-11 months12-23 months2-3 years4-5 years6-8 years9-10 years11-12 years13 years & above
Dose (mg)5075100150200250300400
Infant Drops (ml)1.251.8752.53.755
Oral syrup 100 mg(ml)1.87557.51012.51520
Chewable 50 mg tablets234568
Junior Strength 100 mg22.534
Adult 200 mg111.52

mg=milligrams ml=milliliters

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Dr. Elna Gibson

(MBChB, MMed, Paeds)
Dr. Elna Gibson is a general pediatrician. She did her MBChB and specialization as a pediatrician in South Africa at the University of Pretoria. She obtained MMed Pediatrics (masters) with distinction in 1993. As a young specialist, Dr. Gibson spent some time in the Netherlands, and then settled in the Vaal Triangle where she has practiced for 25 years. She... more

shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more