“With a fever, a lot depends on the age of the baby,” said Bountiful pediatrician Dr. Douglas R. Coombs. “If the child is under six weeks old, get the baby in right away. Beyond that, if the explanation is pretty clear, such as other family members have a cold or cough, work on bringing the temperature down to a comfortable level.”
Coombs said generally the fever itself is not dangerous but what is causing it. “If the child looks OK, usually it’s not a big concern,” he said. “It depends on how worried you are and how sick the child looks. If the child looks better after Tylenol is on board, you can probably just ride it out. But don’t wait if the child isn’t getting better.”
Coombs said there have been some changes in the concentration of acetaminophen with the purpose of making it easier for parents to administer it to their children. However, he said it has actually caused some confusion.
He recommends parents carefully read the packaging instruction of any medication for proper dosing.
According to the FDA, pharmacies often place a computer-printed label on prescription medicines that may not make it clear that it contains acetaminophen. If parents don’t realized they are giving their child a drug with acetaminophen in it, they may overdose the child by adding Tylenol or some other product with acetaminophen.
“I would say most doctors would invite moms to call in and we’ll tell them the proper dosage,” said Coombs. “We’d be happy to answer questions rather than have parents giving the wrong dose.”
Coombs said most medications have a weight chart included. He encourages parents to wrap the instructions around the bottle with a rubber band so they can refer to it whenever needed.
The FDA offers the following tips for giving acetaminophen to children:
• Never give your child more than one medicine containing acetaminophen at a time. Ask the pharmacist if the prescription contains acetaminophen if you’re not sure.
• Choose the right over the counter medicine based on your child’s weight and age.
• Never give more of an acetaminophen-containing medicine than directed. If the medicine doesn’t help your child feel better, talk to your doctor.
• If the medicine is a liquid, use the measuring tool provided, not a kitchen spoon.
• Keep a daily record of the medicines you give to your child, share it with your doctor.
• If your child swallows too much acetaminophen, get medical help right away, even if your child doesn’t feel sick.