You Need to Know: Infant’s & Children’s Acetaminophen Medicine Changes

Posted in:
Elementary
Infants
Parents
Toddler & Preschool
Medication Safety

What is the change?

In the past, there have been two different concentrations of acetaminophen-containing liquid medications (such as Tylenol®) for children. These were infant (concentrated) drops that contained 80 mg of acetaminophen in each 0.8 mL and children’s liquid that contained 160 mg in each 5 mL. These two concentrations created confusion and resulted in incorrect dosing when a parent or caregiver used them interchangeably. Beginning in June 2011, the formulation of both infants’ and children’s products were standardized to the same concentration (160 mg per 5 mL). Also, the design of the bottle was changed so that the opening is smaller. This may make it harder for parents to squeeze or draw out the medication, but it should reduce the amount that a child could accidentally drink from the bottle.

Why is this important to know?

Currently, store shelves and your medicine cabinet may have both the new and old infant acetaminophen concentrations available. Here is how you can distinguish each of them:

Infant’s Acetaminophen

VersionConcentrationMeasuring DeviceBottle Opening
NEW infant liquid160mg/5mLsyringe (mL)child safety cap flow restrictor
OLD infant drops80mg/0.8mLdropperchild safety cap

Children’s Acetaminophen

VersionConcentrationMeasuring DeviceBottle Opening
NEW children’s liquid160mg/5mLmeasuring cup (mL)child safety cap flow restrictor
OLD children’s liquid160mg/5mLmeasuring cupchild safety cap

What can I do to keep children safe?

The Texas Poison Center Network encourages parents and caregivers to:

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy”.
  • Make sure you understand the strength change in infant acetaminophen medications.
  • Always read the label carefully and follow the directions exactly. Giving an infant or child too much medicine does not help them get better faster and may cause an overdose or even death.
  • Please double check the medicine package or label to make sure you are using the correct concentration before giving a dose to a child. Pay close attention to the active ingredients listed on the label.
  • Consider safely disposing any of the old (concentrated) infant acetaminophen drops you currently have in your home to avoid confusion.
  • Only use the measuring device that comes in the original medicine package. If you no longer have that device, your local pharmacist will be able to help you. Never use eating utensils for medication administration. They are not designed for accurate measuring. Not all “teaspoons” hold the same quantity of liquid. Remember that:
    • 1 teaspoon (tsp) = 5 milliliters (mL)
    • 3 teaspoons (tsp) = 1 Tablespoon (TBSP)
    • 1 Tablespoon (TBSP) = 15 milliliters (mL)
  • Never remove ANY part of a label from a medicine bottle. It is recommended to use tape if a part of the label comes off or tears to help reduce the chances of an accidental poisoning overdose due to missing information.
  • Contact your pediatrician before giving acetaminophen to a child under the age of 2 years old.
  • For children over the age of 2 years, it is best to give medicine based on their weight. If you do not know your
  • child’s weight, you can use their age for the dose amount.
  • If you suspect your child has taken too much of this or any medicine, call your local poison center right away at
  • 1-800-222-1222. Save the number in your phone so you will have it if you need it.

Additional Resources:

Acetaminophen Dosage Tables

Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)