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Newborn Packet - Medication Dosages

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, feverall) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) are medications used for treating pain and fever in infants, children and adults.
Dosing of these medications is based on WEIGHT, not age.  Keep a note of your child’s most current weight on hand for dosing.

Fever is not dangerous, as long as the condition causing it (such as a virus) is not dangerous.  We recommend only treating a fever if it is greater than 100.5 and the child is uncomfortable, or if you are putting a child to bed knowing their low-grade fever is likely to rise.

Temperature in infants under 12 weeks of age is most accurately measured by a rectal thermometer. Temporal thermometers(used over the forehead)can be used after 12 weeks, and ear thermometers after 6 months. Oral thermometers are useful only when a child can hold the instrument under her tongue for several minutes without biting(usually after age 5.)

We recommend starting with the appropriate dose of acetaminophen.  If the fever is greater than 102.5, and has not decreased an hour after treatment, you may supplement with a dose of ibuprofen.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are different types of medications, thus may be used together without adverse effect.  However, we only recommend using them in tandem for persistently high fevers or discomfort.  In these situations, you can alternate the medications using each type every 6 hours, but alternating every 3 hours.  For example, acetaminophen at 12 noon, ibuprofen at 3 pm, acetaminophen at 6 pm, ibuprofen at 9 pm.  This helps avoid fever spikes as a medication wears off.  Neither medication should be used more than 4 times a day, nor should you continue this pattern for more than 24 hours without consulting you physician. 

Acetaminophen suppositories are available as Feverall without a prescription at your pharmacy.  These are useful for children who are vomiting, or refuse to take oral medications.  Lubricate the suppository with a little Vaseline or diaper cream, and insert in your child’s rectum with them lying on their side, knees to the chest.  Hold the buttocks closed for a few minutes to assure absorption.

Never give these medications to an infant less than 8 weeks of age without first consulting your pediatrician.