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Acetaminophen

After Your Child’s Visit

​​​​​​​ Printable Version

​​Common brands: Tylenol, Tempra, Pediatrix, and Panadol

​​​What it's used for

Acetaminophen is used t​o treat mild to moderate pain (like headaches, sprains, general aches, and pains) and to bring down a fever.

​​​What to tell the doctor or pharmacist before giving your child this medicine

Tell the doctor or pharmacist if your child:

  • has liver problems
  • takes a blood “thinner”
  • is allergic to acetaminophen
  • is being treated for TB (tuberculosis)

Tell the doctor or dentist what other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medicine your child takes.

What you need to know when giving your child this medicine

  • Make sure to follow the directions on the package or that the doctor/pharmacist gives you. Giving more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen can hurt the liver.
  • Acetaminophen is found in other pain and fever medicine and also in cough and cold medicine. Make sure you read the label before giving your child any other medicine.
  • If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever, contact your doctor to make sure the fever isn’t caused by a serious health problem.
  • For pain: It works best if you give the medicine to your child when the pain starts or before it gets too bad. Give it to your child for no more than 5 days, unless a doctor says you can.
  • For fever: Give it to your child for no more than 3 days, unless a doctor says you can.

​​​What you need to know about different forms of this medicine

Acetaminophen comes in many forms. It comes as a pill, liquid, and a suppository (a form that is put in the rectum and may be used if your child can’t swallow medicine or keep it down).

What you need to know about how often to give this medicine

You can give acetaminophen every 4 hours as needed. Don’t give more than 5 doses in 24 hours. Your child’s dose depends on his or her weight. You can find the right dose for your child on the package or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

​​​When to get help

Call 911 if your child has trouble breathing or the face, tongue, or throat start to swell.

Call your doctor or Health Link right away if your child:

  • is unusually tired
  • is dizzy
  • has yellow eyes or skin
  • has a red, itchy rash or swelling
  • feels sick to the stomach or is throwing up
  • has pain in the abdomen/stomach
  • has sores in mouth, nose, throat, or eyes
  • or if your child’s urine turns dark

Contact your doctor if your child isn’t getting better or seems to be getting worse.

If you have any questions or concerns about this medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

If you think your child may have been given too much of this medicine, call the poison control centre (PADIS) 24/7 at 1-800-332-1414​ or go to an emergency department.


For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811​.

Current as of: January 12, 2016

Author: Alberta Health Services