What's the Difference Between Infant Tylenol and Children's Tylenol?

Reviewed on 5/14/2021
infant Tylenol vs. children's Tylenol
Both infant and children’s Tylenol contain 160 mg of acetaminophen in 5 mL of the liquid

Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is an over-the-counter pain reliever that belongs to a class of drugs called analgesics (medications that relieve pain) and antipyretics (medications that reduce fever). It’s generally used for:

  • Relieving mild to moderate pain like toothaches, headaches, muscle aches and sore throats.
  • Managing fever and reactions to vaccine shots.
  • Providing relief from inflammatory conditions.

While Tylenol is a safe drug when used correctly, incorrect dosages can make an infant or child sick.

How do Tylenol dosages differ for infants and children?

Old formulations

In the old formulations, infant Tylenol and children’s Tylenol had different concentrations: 

  • Infant Tylenol formulation was more concentrated, containing 80 milligrams of acetaminophen in 0.8 milliliters of the liquid. It had to be administered with a dropper. 
  • Children’s Tylenol was less concentrated with 160 milligrams of acetaminophen in 5 milliliters of the liquid. 

Because of these different concentrations and, there used to be a risk of incorrect dosing. Since June 2011, however, both infant and children’s versions of the drug have been standardized to contain 160 milligrams of acetaminophen in 5 milliliters of the liquid.

Bottle design

The design of the bottles has also been changed with the addition of a safety flow restrictor. This reduces the quantity of the medication that may be accidentally consumed by a child.

Table 1: Infant’s Tylenol, new vs. old
Version Concentration Measuring device Bottle design
New infant liquid 160 mg/5 mL Syringe (mL) Child safety cap flow restrictor
Old infant drops 80 mg/0.8 mL Dropper Child safety cap
Table 2: Children’s Tylenol, new vs. old
Version Concentration Measuring device Bottle design
New children’s liquid 160 mg/5 mL Measuring cup (mL) Child safety cap flow restrictor
Old children’s liquid 160 mg/5 mL Measuring cup (mL) Child safety cap

How to safely give Tylenol to your infant or child

For the safety of your infant or child, make sure to take the following safety measures:

  • Keep the medication out of your child’s reach. 
  • Check the version of the formulation and concentration of the drug before use. 
  • Follow the instructions on the label or as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Use the original measuring device that comes with the package. 
  • Although Tylenol is available without a physician’s prescription, ask your pediatrician’s advice before giving it to a child under the age of 2.

Are there any side effects of Tylenol?

While Tylenol is generally safe, some of the side effects that can occur include:

Rarely, the drug can cause severe or life-threatening skin reactions, such as rashes, blistering and peeling. If you see signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.

If your child has signs of liver problems, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), loss of appetite, dark urine, itching or clay-colored stool, talk to your pediatrician before giving them Tylenol.

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References
Medline Plus. Acetaminophen. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a681004.html

RxList. Tylenol. https://www.rxlist.com/tylenol-drug/patient-images-side-effects.htm#info

Johnson & Johnson Inc. Acetaminophen Dosage for Infants And Children. https://www.tylenol.ca/safety-dosing/children/for-parents-acetaminophen-dosage-children

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