Use Of Paracetamol For Children: Dosage And Side-Effects

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Acetaminophen or paracetamol in children is used to relieve pain or fever. It is a common medicine found in every household. Doctors generally prescribe it for adults and children. Paracetamol usually does not have any side effects.

However, you should always seek a doctor’s advice for the right medicine dosage. The dose for children varies with age, and paracetamol is effective only when given in the right dosage. In case of overdose, the drug might cause side effects.

Read the post to know about the right dosage of paracetamol for children of different ages, its benefits, and some side effects.

Is Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) Safe For Kids?

Yes. Paracetamol is often the first line of treatment preferred by doctors and parents to treat fever and pain (1). It is an over-the-counter analgesic available under many brand names including Tylenol, Calpol, and Panadol in the US, and Crocin and Paracip in India.

When administered in the right doses, it can help in treating a number of ailments. People have been using paracetamol for several years to treat pain caused due to an injury or an illness.  The drug is well tolerated by the children of all ages and has few or no side-effects when used in the recommended doses.

So when should you give paracetamol to your child?

Paracetamol is commonly used for:

  • Fever: A dose of just 10-15mg of paracetamol can cause the temperature to drop. However, doctors may recommend against using the medicine for low fevers (temperatures below 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Headaches: Sometimes, a high temperature can cause body pains, headache and general discomfort in the child. A paracetamol dose can help reduce the fever and alleviate the symptoms. The drug usually reduces the severity of the pain, but does not remove it.
  • Aches in the body can also be alleviated with the help of paracetamol. By alleviating body pains, headaches, toothache or tummy pain, the drug also helps your child get a good night’s sleep.
  • Symptoms of cold or flu reduce when you give the child paracetamol. However, you cannot treat a common cold or flu with the drug.
  • A fever is a common side-effect of immunization. If the child gets a vaccine shot, your doctor may recommend paracetamol to bring down the temperature.
  • Pain caused due to a sprain in the body can also be reduced with paracetamol.
  • Adolescents may also take the drug on the first two days of their period to alleviate the pain associated with dysmenorrhea.

If the child has a high fever or unbearable pain in the body, paracetamol may not help. The drug also does not help clear nasal congestion.

Paracetamol Dosage For Children

The manufacturer’s recommended dosage, mentioned on the label, is usually around 160mg/5ml. Below we give the age-appropriate paracetamol dose for children.

Paracetamol for infants and babies

You can also give paracetamol for babies aged three months or older. The dosage (2) you need to give depends on the age of the baby. The ideal option here would be the paracetamol suppository for babies, rather than tablets or syrups. However, it is best to take the doctor’s advice:

Child’s Age 3-6 months6-24 months
Oral Suspension/Syrup2.5ml5ml

DO NOT give paracetamol to infants aged less than three months unless recommended by the pediatrician. Always make sure you give no more than the prescribed dosage.

Paracetamol for toddlers and younger kids

Toddlers are vulnerable and can get a fever due to strain, exposure to hot or cold climates, or when they get an immunization shot. During such times, you can give the child a dose of paracetamol to bring down the fever. Use this chart as a reference and also talk to your doctor before you give the child this medicine.

Age 2-4 years4-6 years
Oral Suspension(120mg/5ml)7.5ml10ml

The medicine should be given in four separate doses in 24 hours.

Paracetamol for children above six years

Unfortunately, most parents do not pay attention to the dosage recommendations nor do they consult their doctors. This can lead to paracetamol overdosing even in children.

Here is a reference chart that you can use when you need to give the child this analgesic (3).

Approximate Age 6-8 years8-10 years10-12 years


Oral Suspension(250mg/5ml)5ml7.5ml10ml

Paracetamol for teens

Teens and older children are given adult doses of paracetamol. So, for teenagers, you can give one tablet of 200mg. Make sure that the dosage is as prescribed by the doctor to prevent overdosing.

Side-Effects Of Paracetamol

Side-effects are uncommon, but when they happen they may require medical attention. Here are some of them:

  • An allergic reaction like a rash or swelling.
  • An overdose of paracetamol can lead to liver and kidney damage, which can be fatal in some cases.

Besides these, if you see any unusual symptoms in the child after using paracetamol, take him or her to the doctor immediately.


Precautions To Prevent Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) Poisoning

As paracetamol is one of the most commonly used drugs in a house, chances of overdosing or poisoning are high if you don’t pay attention to the dosage. Here are some of the precautions you must take to prevent an accidental overdose.

  • Do not combine paracetamol and ibuprofen or any other medication, unless specifically directed by the doctor.
  • Given that we always have stock of paracetamol at home, we could end up with expired medications. So always check for the expiry date on the strip or bottle before using it. If the date of expiry is not visible or not mentioned, do not use it.
  • Do not take the tablet out of the foil or pour the syrup into the spoon or cup until the child is ready to take medicine.
  • Always keep the paracetamol tablets out of your children’s reach.
  • To avoid confusion, always make a note of the doses of paracetamol given to the child during the day.There should be a gap of at least six hours between doses. Do not give more than four doses a day. If your child’s fever or pain becomes worse or doesn’t recede even after 48 hours of taking the paracetamol, visit the doctor immediately.

Pediatricians may prescribe paracetamol for children to treat fever or pain. It is safe and well-tolerated by children if given in the proper doses. Although it is available over the counter, you may contact the child’s pediatrician to know the dosage and duration based on the age, weight, and general health. Children above three months of age and older children and teens may require similar amounts. Avoid overdosing since it has the potential to damage the liver, and always keep the medication away from the child’s reach.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. N Cranswick and D Coghlan; (2000); Paracetamol efficacy and safety in children: the first 40 years.
  2. Paracetamol 120mg/5ml Oral Suspension.
  3. Paracetamol for children (including Calpol).
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Dr. Shanmukha Priya

Dr. Shanmukha Priya is an American Board-certified pediatrician. As a professional member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she currently practices at the Precious Smiles Medical Care, New York. Dr. Priya has completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the Gulf Medical University, Ajman, UAE. She did her residency in Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of... 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