Ibuprofen dosing for children: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (2022)

Taking ibuprofen can help children feel better when they have colds or minor injuries. As with all drugs, it is important to give children the correct dose. Ibuprofen is safe when taken as directed. But taking too much of this medicine can be harmful.

How Ibuprofen can Help Your Child

Ibuprofen is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It can help:

  • Reduce aches, pain, sore throat, or fever in children with a cold or the flu
  • Relieve headaches or toothaches
  • Reduce pain and swelling from an injury or broken bone

Proper Dosing

Ibuprofen can be taken as liquid or chewable tablets. To give the correct dose, you need to know your child's weight.

You also need to know how much ibuprofen is in a tablet, teaspoon (tsp), 1.25 milliliters (mL), or 5 mL of the product you are using. You can read the label to find out.

  • For chewable tablets, the label will tell you how many milligrams (mg) are found in each tablet, for example 50 mg per tablet.
  • For liquids, the label will tell you how many mg are found in 1 tsp, in 1.25 mL, or in 5mL. For example, the label may read 100 mg/1 tsp, 50 mg/1.25 mL, or 100 mg/5 mL.

For syrups, you need some type of dosing syringe. It may come with the medicine, or you can ask your pharmacist. Make sure to clean it out after every usage.

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If your child weighs 12 to 17 pounds (lbs) or 5.4 to 7.7 kilograms (kg):

  • For infant drops that say 50mg/1.25 mL on the label, give a 1.25 mL dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 teaspoon (tsp) on the label, give a ½ tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 2.5 mL dose.

If your child weighs 18 to 23 lbs or 8 to 10 kg:

  • For infant drops that say 50mg/1.25 mL on the label, give a 1.875 mL dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a ¾ tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 4 mL dose.

If your child weighs 24 to 35 lbs or 10.5 to 15.5 kg:

  • For infant drops that say 50mg/1.25 mL on the label, give a 2.5 mL dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 1 tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 5 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 2 tablets.

If your child weighs 36 to 47 lbs or 16 to 21 kg:

  • For infant drops that say 50mg/1.25 mL on the label, give a 3.75 mL dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 1½ tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 7.5 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 3 tablets.

If your child weighs 48 to 59 lbs or 21.5 to 26.5 kg:

  • For infant drops that say 50mg/1.25 mL on the label, give a 5 mL dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 2 tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 10 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 4 tablets.
  • For junior-strength tablets that say 100 mg tablets on the label, give 2 tablets.

If your child weighs 60 to 71 lbs or 27 to 32 kg:

  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 2½ tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 12.5 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 5 tablets.
  • For junior-strength tablets that say 100 mg tablets on the label, give 2½ tablets.

If your child weighs 72 to 95 lbs or 32.5 to 43 kg:

  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 3 tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 15 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 6 tablets.
  • For junior-strength tablets that say 100 mg tablets on the label, give 3 tablets.

If your child weighs 96 lbs or 43.5 kg or more:

  • For liquid that says 100 mg/1 tsp on the label, give a 4 tsp dose.
  • For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 20 mL dose.
  • For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 8 tablets.
  • For junior-strength tablets that say 100 mg tablets on the label, give 4 tablets.

Try giving your child the medicine with food to avoid stomach upset. If you are not sure how much to give your child, call your health care provider.

Do not give ibuprofen to children under 6 months of age, unless directed by your provider. You should also check with your provider before giving ibuprofen to children under age 2 years or less than 12 pounds or 5.5 kilograms.

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Giving Medicine to Children

Make sure you don't give your child more than one medicine with ibuprofen. For example, ibuprofen can be found in many allergy and cold remedies. Read the label before giving any medicine to children. You should not give medicine with more than one active ingredient to children under age 6 years.

There are important child medicine safety tips to follow.

  • Carefully read all of the instructions on the label before giving your child medicine.
  • Make sure you know the strength of the medicine in the bottle you purchased.
  • Use the syringe, dropper, or dosing cup that comes with your child's liquid medicine. You can also get one at your local pharmacy.
  • Make sure you are using the right unit of measurement when filling medicine. You may have the option of milliliters (mL) or teaspoon (tsp) dosing.
  • If you are not sure what medicine to give your child, call your provider.

Children with certain medical conditions or taking certain medicines should not take ibuprofen. Check with your provider.

If Your Child Takes too Much

Be sure to post the number for the poison control center by your home phone. If you think your child has taken too much medicine, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. It is open 24 hours a day. Signs of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain.

Go to the nearest emergency room. Your child may need:

  • Activated charcoal. Charcoal stops the body from absorbing the medicine. It has to be given within an hour. It does not work for every medicine.
  • To be admitted to the hospital to be monitored.
  • Blood tests to see what the medicine is doing.
  • To have his or her heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure monitored.

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When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

  • You are not sure what dose of medicine to give your infant or child.
  • You are having trouble getting your child to take medicine.
  • Your child's symptoms do not go away when you would expect.
  • Your child is an infant and has signs of illness, such as fever.

Alternative Names

Motrin; Advil

References

American Academy of Pediatrics website. Ibuprofen dosage table for fever and pain. Healthychildren.org. www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/medication-safety/Pages/Ibuprofen-for-Fever-and-Pain.aspx. Updated May 23, 2016. Accessed January 15, 2021.

Aronson JK. Ibuprofen. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:5-12.

Theobald JL, Kostic MA. Poisoning. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 77.

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Review Date 10/2/2020

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics

  • Medicines and Children
  • Pain Relievers

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FAQs

What is the dosing for children's ibuprofen? ›

The standard dosage is 200 mg to 400 mg (1 to 2 pills) by mouth every 4 to 6 hours. Be careful not to give more than 1,200 mg (6 pills) in a 24-hour period unless a healthcare provider tells you otherwise. For children ages 2 to 11 years, it's recommended to use children's chewable ibuprofen tablets.

How much ibuprofen is in children's ibuprofen? ›

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) Dose Table
Child's weight (pounds)12-1724-35
Infant Drops 50 mg/ 1.25 mL1.252.5
Liquid 100 mg/ 5 milliliters (mL)2.55
Liquid 100 mg/ 1 teaspoon (tsp)½1
Chewable 100 mg tablets--1
2 more rows

Can I give my 7 year old ibuprofen 200mg? ›

Children over the age of 10 years and adults may take ibuprofen tablets (200 mg.), two of these every 6 to 8 hours. Two trade names of ibuprofen tablets are Motrin and Advil.

Can a 12 year old take 600 mg ibuprofen? ›

Children aged 1 to 3 years: Give 100mg up to three times in 24 hours. Children aged 4 to 6 years: Give 150mg up to three times in 24 hours. Children aged 7 to 9 years: Give 200mg up to three times in 24 hours. Children aged 10 to 12 years: Give 300mg up to three times in 24 hours.

How many 200mg ibuprofen can a child take? ›

Dosage for tablets and capsules

The usual dose for children aged 12 to 17 years is 200mg to 400mg (one or two 200mg tablets or capsules), up to 3 times in 24 hours. If a doctor prescribes tablets or capsules for children aged under 12 years, they will use your child's age and weight to work out the right dose for them.

How many mg is 5 ml of children's ibuprofen? ›

Ibuprofen - Advil Motrin etc - Dosage Table
Child's weight12 – 17 lbs.72 – 95 lbs.
Liquid 100 mg/5 milliliters (ml)2.515
Chewable 50 mg. tablets6
Junior-strength 100 mg tablets3
Adult 200 mg. tablets
1 more row

What happens if you give a child too much ibuprofen? ›

If given too much ibuprofen, babies may show signs of sleepiness and fussiness, or they may have breathing difficulties if the overdose is serious. If children are given too much, it could cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, stomach bleeding, and kidney damage.

What's the difference between children's ibuprofen and regular ibuprofen? ›

Parents should know that there is no difference between medicine designed for adults and medicine designed for children as long as the dose used is appropriate. If you're able to carefully dose the medicine appropriately, you can use adult ibuprofen tablets for children 3, 6, 8, or 14 years old.

Can you overdose your child on ibuprofen? ›

In some cases, ibuprofen overdose can be deadly. Accidental ibuprofen poisoning occurs at a discomforting rate among both adults and children: the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) managed more than 2.7 million poison cases in the U.S. in 2016 alone.

How many milligrams of ibuprofen can a 7 year old take? ›

Ibuprofen Dosages By Weight
WeightIbuprofen Jr. Strength Chewables (100 mg)
36-47 lbs. (4-5 years)Not recommended
48-59 lbs. (6-8 years)2 tablets
60-71 lbs. (9-10 years)2½ tablets
72-95 lbs. (11 years)3 tablets
1 more row

Can a 8 year old take 200 mg Tylenol? ›

Children 9 to 11 years of age: 320 to 400 mg every 4 hours as needed. Children 6 to 9 years of age: 320 mg every 4 hours as needed. Children 4 to 6 years of age: 240 mg every 4 hours as needed. Children 2 to 4 years of age: 160 mg every 4 hours as needed.

How much ibuprofen can a 12 year take? ›

Children over the age of 12 years and adults may take ibuprofen tablets (200mg), two every 6-8 hours.

How much ibuprofen can a 12 take? ›

For most adults and children ages 12 years and older, the recommended OTC dose of ibuprofen is 200 mg by mouth every 4 to 6 hours. If 200 mg didn't help enough, you have the option to take 400 mg at your next dose. You shouldn't take more than 1,200 mg of ibuprofen in a 24-hour period.

How much ibuprofen can a 13 year old take before overdosing? ›

Children who consume more than 400 mg/kilogram (kg) of ibuprofen are at a higher risk of overdose and will likely require hospitalization. If they consume 100 mg/kg or less, they may be monitored at home.

Is 5 mg the same as 5ml? ›

Example of mg to mL conversion

Let's say you have 5 grams of water, which is 5,000 mg. Dividing by 1,000, as shown in the mg to mL formula, gives an answer of 5 mL.

Is 5 milligrams the same as 5 mL? ›

If you have the value of density, you can easily convert mg to mL. Hence 5mg of water will be equal to 5ml only.

How much is 5 mL for kids? ›

5 ml = 1 teaspoon (tsp). If using a spoon, a measuring spoon is more accurate.

What qualifies as ibuprofen overdose? ›

Symptoms are unlikely if less than 100 mg/kg ibuprofen has been ingested. Symptoms of severe ibuprofen toxicity, including metabolic acidosis, seizures, renal impairment and cardiovascular collapse, occur after >400 mg/kg has been ingested.

How long does it take for children's ibuprofen to kick in? ›

Your child should start to feel better about 20 to 30 minutes after taking ibuprofen. Talk to a doctor if they need to take it for more than 3 days (or 1 day if they're under 6 months) or their symptoms do not improve or they get worse. Are there any long-term side effects?

What is safer for kids ibuprofen or acetaminophen? ›

Ibuprofen is the better choice for treating fever in children, especially at higher therapeutic doses. For pain relief, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are comparable.

Which is better children's Tylenol or Children's ibuprofen? ›

A few studies have suggested ibuprofen may be better than acetaminophen in helping to treat fevers over 102 – 103 F, while acetaminophen may be better for children who are also having stomach pain or upset, because ibuprofen can sometimes irritate the stomach.

Which is safer Tylenol or ibuprofen for kids? ›

Some experts have suggested that acetaminophen could be associated with an increased risk for asthma, and ibuprofen with an increased risk for kidney problems, but this review found few serious side effects from either drug, and there were some studies that found no side effects at all.

How long does it take your liver to process ibuprofen? ›

Ibuprofen levels in your bloodstream are estimated to be at their maximum level after 1 to 2 hours . However, ibuprofen is quickly cleared from your body. This is one of the reasons why — depending on the condition that's being treated — you may need to take a dose every few hours.

Can I give my 7 year old Tylenol and ibuprofen? ›

If using only one medication is not making your child more comfortable then you can try giving acetaminophen and ibuprofen together. When giving acetaminophen and ibuprofen together make sure you do not give acetaminophen more often than once every four hours, and ibuprofen more often than once every six hours.

Can a 9 year old take 250 mg of Tylenol? ›

Tylenol dosage for children

Regular Strength Tylenol (325 mg) may be given to children between the ages of 6 and 11.

How much acetaminophen is toxic for a child? ›

The toxicity of acetaminophen overdose has long been recognized. Potentially toxic doses are those that are greater than 150 mg/kg/dose in children and greater than 7–10 g/dose in adults. With the advent of many combination analgesic medications, the potential for unintentional overdose has increased.

How much Tylenol can a 10 year old take? ›

The maximum daily Tylenol weight-based dose for kids is 75 mg per kg of body weight (but not more than 4,000 mg).

What is the maximum amount of ibuprofen at once? ›

The absolute maximum daily dose for adults is 3200 mg. Do not take more than 800 mg in a single dose. Only use the smallest dose needed to alleviate your swelling, pain, or fever. The child's weight determines the ibuprofen dosage for children.

Is there an ibuprofen limit? ›

adults – can usually take 1 or 2 tablets (200mg) every 4 to 6 hours, but shouldn't take more than 1,200mg (6 x 200mg) tablets in the space of 24 hours.

Can I give my child ibuprofen every 2 hours? ›

Doses can be given every six to eight hours, but no more than three times a day. There are some rare but serious side effects that might occur if ibuprofen is given to a child for a long time. If you need to give your child ibuprofen for more than 48 hours, you should take them to see a doctor.

How much ibuprofen can a 25 pound child? ›

IBUPROFEN DOSAGE (ex. Advil® Motrin® given every 6-8 hours)
Weight lbsInfant Drops 50mg/1.25mlChildren's Liquid 100 mg/5 ml
20-25 lbs.½ tsp = 2.5 ml1 tsp = 5 ml
25-30 lbs.1 ¼ tsp = 6.25 ml
30-40 lbs.1 ½ tsp = 7.5 ml
8 more rows

How long does it take for children's ibuprofen to start working? ›

Your child should start to feel better about 20 to 30 minutes after taking ibuprofen. Talk to a doctor if they need to take it for more than 3 days (or 1 day if they're under 6 months) or their symptoms do not improve or they get worse. Are there any long-term side effects?

How long should I wait between doses of children's ibuprofen? ›

Give every 6 to 8 hours as needed, but never give your child more than four doses in 24 hours. If your child doesn't like the flavor, you can try a product with a different flavoring. If your child is sensitive to dyes, use a dye-free type of ibuprofen.

What is the time gap between ibuprofen? ›

If you take ibuprofen 3 times a day, leave at least 6 hours between doses. If you take it 4 times a day, leave at least 4 hours between doses. If you have pain all the time, your doctor may recommend slow-release ibuprofen tablets or capsules. You'll usually take these once a day in the evening or twice a day.

How many hours in between should you take ibuprofen? ›

adults – can usually take 1 or 2 tablets (200mg) every 4 to 6 hours, but shouldn't take more than 1,200mg (6 x 200mg) tablets in the space of 24 hours. children under 16 – may need to take a lower dose, depending on their age; check the packet or leaflet, or ask a pharmacist or doctor for advice.

How much ibuprofen can I give my son? ›

If your child weighs 48 to 59 lbs or 21.5 to 26.5 kg:

For liquid that says 100 mg/5 mL on the label, give a 10 mL dose. For chewable tablets that say 50 mg tablets on the label, give 4 tablets. For junior-strength tablets that say 100 mg tablets on the label, give 2 tablets.

How much ibuprofen can a 125 pound child? ›

Dosage: Every six to eight (6-8) hours.
Weight estimatedMaximum DosageDosage Based on Children's Suspension 100 mg/1tsp or 5ml
45 lbs.125 mg6.25 mL
50 lbs.150 mg7.5 mL (1.5 tsp)
55 lbs.160 mg8 mL
60 lbs.180 mg9 mL
12 more rows
2 Jan 2013

How much ibuprofen can I give my 65 pound child? ›

Contact Us
WeightDoseSuspension (100 mg/5 ml)
33-43 lbs150 mg7.5 ml
44-54 lbs200 mg10 ml
55-65 lbs250 mg12.5 ml
66-76 lbs300 mg15 ml
5 more rows

How long does children's ibuprofen take to reduce fever? ›

Ibuprofen can be given to infants over the age of 6 months and is taken by mouth. The duration of action for ibuprofen is 6-8 hours. Both of these medications begin to work less than one hour after being given to your child. When used as a fever reducer, these medications will take a fever down 1-2 degrees.

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