Is it safe to give Benadryl to infants?

Doctors and pediatrists typically do not prescribe Benadryl drugs for children or babies. They will also prescribe supervised use of Benadryl for children younger than 2 years under certain cases.

Benadryl is a drug used to alleviate symptoms of allergy including sneezing, itchiness and rashes in the skin.

Benadryl is available in various forms, several of which include doses that are suitable for children aged 6 years and over. No unique items are available in the United States for babies, toddlers, or children under the age of 6.

Nevertheless, there are other products, such as creams, gels, and sprays, which are appropriate for children aged 2 and over.

Read on for more detail on the health and dangers of giving infants Benadryl.

Is Benadryl safe for babies or infants?

Antihistamines cause serious side effects for children under 2 years of age.

Over-the-counter Benadryl products are only suitable for some age groups:

  • Benadryl is generally not safe to give to babies or infants under 2 years old at home.
  • Sometimes, people can safely give infants aged 2 to 5 small doses of Benadryl, but only when a doctor advises them to do so.
  • Specific child-friendly Benadryl is available for children aged 6 and above.

But under such cases, such as an allergic reaction, a doctor or pediatrician can consider giving Benadryl to very young children. Following the doctor’s advice and dosing instructions is important.

Uses of Benadryl

Benadryl’s active ingredient is an antihistamine called diphenhydramine. This ingredient is used in many items for cough and cold, too.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cough and cold products containing decongestants or antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can cause serious and potentially fatal side effects, including seizures and rapid heart rate, in children under 2 years of age.

Doctors or pediatricians should never suggest offering a Benadryl-containing drug to a very young child for cough or cold, but they might prescribe it for an allergic reaction.

These cough and cold products are of little benefit and can cause potentially harmful side effects.

When your child has a cough, then consider using other methods to relieve the symptoms.

Benadryl may induce childhood drowsiness but caregivers should never use Benadryl to make a child sleepy.

Benadryl products for children

A variety of Benadryl allergy medications are designed for children aged 6 or over.

Products include Benadryl Dye-free allergy liquid for children, Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion for children, Benadryl Chewables for children, and Benadryl Allergy Liquid for children. Generally these are appropriate to provide to children aged 6 or over.

Not give children any drugs that are meant for adults, like Benadryl. Dosages in adult medicines are higher than in medicines for children, so giving adult dosages to children could lead to overdose.

Taking adult Benadryl items is usually safe for children aged 12 onwards but always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Benadryl dosage for infants

For infants, the correct dose depends on their age and the type of medication required. Based on your weight, doctors or pediatrists may also prescribe different doses for a child.

— drug for children with Benadryl has a specific prescription dose, so please follow the directions on the package label. For clarification on the correct dosages for various ages see Benadryl’s dosage recommendations.

For example, the dosage recommendations of Benadryl for Children’s Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid offer the following recommended dosages:

AgeDosage
Under 2Do not use
2–5Do not use unless directed by a doctor
6–111 or 2 tsp (5–10 mL) every 4 to 6 hours

When providing medication to babies, always follow the directions on the package insert or the doctor’s advice.

When a child is taking more medication than prescribed, immediately take it to a doctor or emergency room.

Risks of Benadryl for infants

A mother bottle feeding her child
Antihistamines pose serious side effects for children under the age of 2.

The FDA warns of serious and potentially lethal side effects for children under 2 years of age who ingest antihistaminic-containing drugs, such as Benadryl.

Because of this risk, carers should never offer Benadryl products at home to children under the age of 2.

Certain potential Benadryl side-effects that can occur at any age include:

Takeaway

Benadryl is normally not suitable for children under 2 years of age.

People should not offer cough and cold products to infants or very young children, particularly those that contain diphenhydramine.

Benadryl is an important medicine for relieving allergic or cold symptoms. It may however cause side effects.

According to label guidelines, people should only use Benadryl and handle the conditions for approved use, as stated on the label.

People should not use Benadryl to help kids fall asleep or other uses that are off label.

Always ask a doctor in advance and obey these general rules to ensure a drug is safe to offer to children:

  • never exceed the dose recommended on the label for the child’s specific age or weight
  • always follow the doctor’s recommendations about how much and how often to give a child
  • avoid giving other medications at the same time unless a doctor recommends it

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