Tylenol and other products to simplify children’s medication

In the past moms have had to decide which Tylenol product was right for their child: Were they small enough to be given the concentrated infant’s drops? Were they old enough to have the children’s formula that was not concentrated?

One teaspoon of the concentrated formula is very different than one teaspoon of the children’s version!

I have personally stood in a drugstore aisle examining and reading labels very closely so I didn’t end up giving a child an overdose of the wrong form of medicine.

Well to help solve that problem, Johnson & Johnson and other drug makers announced last week they will switch to a single concentration so parents won’t have to wonder which product is the right one to use.

Dosing will still be dependent on age of the child.

The FDA is meeting with drug makers later this month about other safety improvements such as adding weight to the label help determine dosing. (I think weight used to be on the baby ones when my kids were little.)

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“In 2009, there were 14 hospitalizations caused by pediatric versions of medicines containing acetaminophen, but no deaths, according to the most recent data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers….”

“Acetaminophen is the most commonly used medicine for relieving pain and fevers in children, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which will be announcing the switch. According to a 2008 study, 23% of caregivers had given infants under 2 years of age a single-ingredient acetaminophen medicine during the previous week. Companies sold $153 million in kids’ acetaminophen medicines in the year leading up to April 10, Perrigo said….”

“Manufacturers of acetaminophen products have been under pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help minimize medication errors. A 2009 meeting of experts convened by the agency prompted drug makers to revise the labels on medicine bottles and provide specific dosing instructions for children under 2.”

Perrigo Co., which makes 95% of the kids’ acetaminophen medicines sold as store brands, says its products should be switched over to the single concentration by this summer.

J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit plans to roll out the single concentration as its infants’ Tylenol bottles return to the market later this year and the beginning of next year. (It had been on a lengthy recall.)

Novartis AG, maker of Triaminic, will also comply.

Tylenol also sent me a press release about other safety enhancements:

The new Tylenol infants bottle (so I guess same concentration but in a different size bottle) will have a syringe that sticks into the bottle and a flow control top for more accurate measuring.  (I love those because then you’re not spreading germs but you cannot hold the baby and dispense the medicine – or at least I couldn’t when I had bottles like that. It’s a two-hand operation.)

The children’s bottle has a protective opening to help keep children out of the bottle and a dosing cup.

(Interestingly, and not to confuse the reader, Tylenol will NOT be making the same changes to its product lines in Canada. They will still continue to sell there with different concentrations. So I don’t know if that means the Canadian Moms are smarter than us and aren’t overdosing their kids or if the Canadian version of the FDA is more laissez-faire? HMMM.)

So what do you think about having the same concentrations of some children’s drugs? Will that make your life easier? Will you have to think less when giving medicine? Do you like syringe that plugs into the top of the medicine? What do you think about it being  two-handed operation? Do you think these changes will help prevent overdoses or the parents that would have giving the wrong concentration are still likely to give the wrong dose?

What do you make of the Canada stuff? Those moms are smart enough to handle different concentrations?

29 comments Add your comment


May 9th, 2011
12:44 pm

I feel stupid. I don’t follow.


May 9th, 2011
12:44 pm

So if there is a “single concentration” now, what is with the separate bottle for infants.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 9th, 2011
12:49 pm

I guess because there is a different dispenser — it will be interesting the price point — because I would guess the infant’s product (although the same concentration and formula) will be more expensive per ounce — so will that encourage parents to buy the children’s bottle and use a squeese dispenser instead of the cup??/ it seems like to discourage that they will have to leave the price points the same per ounce — hmmm —

jarvis – the point is parents were giving the wrong formula to the wrong age kid — 1 tsp of concetrated is very different than 1 tsp of the old children’s formula – now the same formula so you only have to know weight to give them the the right amount


May 9th, 2011
1:16 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I’m familiar with the two bottle types. I hated the infant drops.

Both babies would gag when we squirted medicine into their unsuspecting mouths. Very glad the day my youngest turned 2 so we could give him the standard cup.

If the concentration is going to be the standard one now, I imagine parents of little ones will now be squirting even more into the infants’ throats. I wish them luck.


May 9th, 2011
1:25 pm

“Weight” of the child has always been on the Tylenol bottles. According to our pediatrician, if the weight and age do not line up, you go by the weight of the child when determining the dosage, which makes a lot of sense.

I’ll just be happy when Tylenol products are back on the shelves. My son hates all the store brands.


May 9th, 2011
1:31 pm

I can’t understand the problem. I ALWAYS read the bottle when I give my son Tylenol. He rarely gets sick, so when he does, it may have been a while since I gave him any, so I always double check the dosage. I did the infant drops & now we are on the children’s formula. I wonder if it is that Canadian mom’s are smarter, or they are just less likely to sue of they screw up & give the wrong dose!! How hard it is to read the little chart on the side of the bottle??


May 9th, 2011
1:32 pm

Any Tylenol products are still on the shelves for kids. They can take the dissolve tabs, just not the liquid. But I like those better anyway, because you can carry them around in your purse for emergencies!!


May 9th, 2011
1:43 pm

@ Jarvis – “If the concentration is going to be the standard one now, I imagine parents of little ones will now be squirting even more into the infants’ throats. I wish them luck.”

That was my thought, too. I think it’s fine to simplify things by using one concentration, but I would imagine that issue right there was the reasoning behind making a more concentrated infant version to begin with.

Also, IIRC (it’s been a few years), the syringes were easier to do one-handed while holding a baby than pouring the medicine into the cup.


May 9th, 2011
1:45 pm

Canadian moms are evidently not smart enough to know when to use apostrophes correctly, however.


May 9th, 2011
1:50 pm

The Tylenol products are not on the shelves. Those meltaways don’t “jive” with my kids.


May 9th, 2011
2:08 pm

I am suprised that a total of 14 hospitalizations can cause a change in the entire market.

I have never found it difficult. Read the labels.

No matter what information is printed on the labels some people will get it wrong because they are simply clueless. Or they think more is better.

About a year ago I ran into a young friend in CVS – she was getting med’s for her stepson. She had 5 bottles of various medications in her hands. I had to point out to her that if she gave him XYZ, she didn’t need to give him ABC. She was shocked — I showed her — “look XYZ already contains acetaminophen. If you give him both – you will be giving him too much acetaminophen.”

She had no idea.


May 9th, 2011
2:12 pm

Unfortunately, many people try to overmedicate when it is much better to err on the side of caution.

You can always take a little more later.

No Enemas Left behind

May 9th, 2011
2:15 pm

Hey…..Just don’t get sick.


May 9th, 2011
2:23 pm

@No Enemas..Hey…..Just don’t get sick.
This from someone who has never been a parent and been at your wit’s end with a very ill child.
Scary stuff when it happens to you.

Glad mine are both old enough to both drive themselves to the doctor and that my oldest knows more about medication than I ever will. We call him now.


May 9th, 2011
3:00 pm

@Kat – “I’ll be happy when the Tylenol products are back on the shelves. My son hates all the store brands.”

Interesting comment. The only active ingredient in all brands below is acetaminophen. Here are some prices for children’s flavored (cherry or grape) liquid pain reliever:

Wal Mart brand – Equate – 4 oz – $2.92
Walgreens brand – 4 oz – 4.99
CVS brand – 4 zo – 5.29
Children’s Tylenol – 3.38 oz – 5.99

No Enemas Left Undrugged

May 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

And you are certain of my parenthood because?

Lady Strange

May 9th, 2011
3:25 pm

I still use the syringe for meds for my son, not worth the mess to fight with the cup. But it’s really not that hard to just read the label. Motrin/Advil works better for my son for fevers so I really don’t buy the Tylenol for him anymore.


May 9th, 2011
5:13 pm

Hey Enemas, why don’t you just tell us what you are: man, woman, married or single, parent or not, young, middle age, old? It simply helps people (at least the regulars) understand from which perspective you are presenting your knowledge. I quite frankly like that there are several dads, young moms, older moms, SAHM, working moms, grandmas, etc. that follow this blog b/c each brings a different perspective.

It would also help if you gave some useful advice; “Just don’t get sick.” is typically not an option with kids. You’ll note that I didn’t comment on this topic b/c I don’t have a lot of experience with it… maybe you should do the same.


May 9th, 2011
6:03 pm

@ Sylvania – just because the active ingredients are the same doesn’t mean the flavors are. We’re not too picky in this house, but we’ve learned Kroger acetaminophen – any flavor – does not fly with anyone here. I just generally get different store brands, but I can see why someone would say that their kid doesn’t like store brands.


May 9th, 2011
7:13 pm

Regardless of dosage…I stay away from Tylenol for myself and my kids. Acetaminophen is one of the leading causes of liver issues/bleeding and hospitalizations among people/children each year. Give them the “drink more water” and your headache will go away advice…as far as fever, motrin is typically more effective.


May 9th, 2011
8:07 pm

@ No enemas…I am not certain about anything but I do recall that you had mentioned you preferred being single with little to no obligation to anyone, so that was an assumption.

The comment you made: Hey…..Just don’t get sick. Implies, to me, that you have not spent too many sleepless nights hovering over your offspring and worried to death that something WAY beyond your control might happen before you can get them into the Doctor’s office in the morning. You know that a trip to the emergency room might only be worse…more germs or a VERY long night! Not to mention the expense.

Out of Town Blogger

May 9th, 2011
8:32 pm

Damn it gets catty in here.


May 9th, 2011
10:06 pm

Wow. It is amazing how worked up y’all get over every little thing Enema says! A little sarcastic joke and the lectures start. Sheesh.


May 10th, 2011
12:30 am

@ Sylvania: I appreciate your post. But as lulu pointed out, the flavors are different. My son (who has Aspergers and is sensitive to most any new taste) will willingly take Tylenol – the opaque cherry-flavored one. Not grape and none of the “bubblegum” flavors that the store brands have. I wish he would. I’ve tried the tablets too, but to no avail. No one seems to know when the Tylenol products will make a comeback, so it’s difficult to help him without a LOT of encouragement.


May 10th, 2011
12:32 am

Acetaminophen can cause problems if taken too frequently, or in the wrong dosages. However, I’ve found that using it helps my son’s fever with the first dose – versus several times around with the other. I prefer less medicine overall.

[...] is complete, companies will only sell a single formula for all children under the age of 12. …Tylenol and other products to simplify children's medicationAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Tylenol Drops Infants Med – Simplifies Product LineupAbout [...]

Sleeping With The Enemas

May 10th, 2011
9:30 am

@ HB

It’s just a few here that get wadded up over my remarks. They’re uptight and have made a choice to be angry all the time.

Too bad for them. It’s a horrible way to live.


May 10th, 2011
12:27 pm

Children and adults alike have been injured from accidental overdoses of acetaminophen and suffered http://www.LiverfailurefromTylenol.com/
Hopefully the change of dispensers for children’s medication will help, especially if consumers educate themselves about their pain reliever’s ingredients and recommended dosage. Regards, SK

Dr. Nancy M. Silva

May 11th, 2011
6:40 pm

This is going to make life easier for moms & dads. No more choosing the wrong formulation/bottle. The risk of an overdose or an underdose will decrease as a result of this new safety standard. Liver damage and death are true risks with an overdose. http://www.drsilvatotstweensandteens.com/2011/05/change-in-tylenol-dosing-standard.html