Ibuprofen For Kids- Uses, Dosage And Side Effects

Watching your kids suffer, can make you want to bawl your eyes out. Feeling helpless is something we all feel at some point during our journey as parents, and often there is little that we can do to help them. Thankfully, Ibuprofen is one medicine that can help make you feel a little less helpless and your kids a whole lot better!


What is Ibuprofen?

Developed during the 1960’s, this medicine is used mainly to treat pain, inflammation and fever. It is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can be sold over the counter. It so widely used and has been listed as essential medicine required by the healthcare system by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Ibuprofen has a simple yet effective method of inhibiting the production of an enzyme called prostaglandin around the area of injury. This enzyme is known to give the sensation of pain, and its reduction helps in pain alleviation.


Ibuprofen medicines

Is Ibuprofen Safe for Children?

This medicine has been used for over half a century and is one of the most trusted drugs known to mankind. However, on infants that are below the weight bracket, usage may not be recommended. Nevertheless, older kids will not face too many issues with Ibuprofen and are relatively safe provided the dosage amount is adhered to.

Ibuprofen for children

Available Types of Ibuprofen

As it has passed its patenting period, it is now available in as generic medicine and marketed under different brand names across the world such as Brufen, Advil and Nurofen. In India, some of the well-known names include Combiflam, Unafen and Brufen.

Uses of Ibuprofen

  • It can be used to treat debilitating fever for children who have difficulty sleeping at night.
  • It can be used by adolescent girls who are experiencing painful cramps.
  • It can be used for children who are experiencing painful toothaches and are unable to go to the dentist.
  • It can be used for children who may have just had a sprain or fracture, and require immediate pain relief.
  • It can be used as a pain reliever for trauma due to an injury. As it has anti-inflammatory properties, it works better than other medications such as codeine.

Ibuprofen relieves pain

Ibuprofen Dosage for Kids

  • Ibuprofen Dosage for Babies and Infants: Ibuprofen is not recommended for infants that are below three months of age or below 5 kilograms. Even if your infant is below six months of age, you may want to check up with your GP before administering the medicine.
  • Dosage for Toddlers: The dosage for a toddler who weighs between 5 to 8 kilos is as follows:
Method of Administering Amount
Drops (50 mg/1.25) 1.25 ml
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 5 teaspoons
Tablets Nil
  • Dosage for Children Aged Four or More: The drug is administered as per the child’s weight and not their age.

Children Weighing 8-10 Kilograms

Method of Administering Amount
Drops (50 mg/1.25 ml) 1.875
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) ¾ tsp
Tablets Nil


Children Weighing 10-15.5 Kilograms

Method of Administering Amount
Drops (50 mg/1.25 ml) 2.5 ml
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 1 Tsp
Tablets (50 mg) 2


Children Weight 15.5-21 kilograms

Method Of Administering Amount
Drops (50 mg/1.25 ml) 3.75 ml
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 1.5 tsp
Tablets (50 mg) 3


Children Weighing 21-26 Kilograms

Method Of Administering Amount
Drops (50 mg/1.25 ml) 5 ml
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 2 Tsp
Tablet (50 mg) 4


Children Weighing 26-32 Kilograms

Method Of Administering Amount
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 2.5 Tsp
Liquid (100 mg/5 ml) 12.5 ml
Tablets (50 mg) 5


Children Weighing 32-43 Kilograms

Method of Administering Amount
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 3 Tsp
Liquid (100 mg/5 ml) 15 ml
Tablets (50 mg) 6


Children Weighing More Than 43 Kilograms

Method of Administering Amount
Liquid (100 mg/1 tsp) 4 Tsp
Liquid (100 mg/5 ml) 20 ml
Tablets (50 mg) 8

How and When to Give Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is ideally consumed along with food to avoid any digestive issues. How much one consumes depends on factors such as age and weight. As a result, adolescents, toddlers and infants are never given the same dosage.

The timing of giving the medication will be provided by the doctor/pharmacist.

Consult the doctor

Who Can Take Ibuprofen?

If your child has a high fever but is responding well to home remedies that are alleviating the symptoms, Ibuprofen is not required. It is only when all other measures fail that you must turn to this.

Who Should Avoid Taking Ibuprofen?

  • Children who suffer from diseases of the digestive tract such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Children who have asthma.
  • Children who have allergic reactions to other medicines.
  • Children who have cardiovascular issues such as heart disease, blood pressure problems or irregular blood clotting.

What if a Child Takes Too Much Ibuprofen?

The British National Formulary says that children should never be given more than four doses of Ibuprofen in a day. Wait for half a day before giving them their next dosage. Some of the symptoms that indicate on overdose include:

  • Convulsions
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty breathing

In case these symptoms are displayed, you need to take your child to the hospital immediately. The doctors will give your child liquid charcoal to absorb the drug. Testing has shown that consuming over 636 mg per kilogram is fatal in animals. However, in humans the case is different as in most cases, the subject becomes violently ill but does not die.

What if You Forget to Give it?

Don’t panic if you have forgotten to give the medicine at the scheduled time. Give your child the medicine the moment you remember. If a lot of time has lapsed and it is time for the next medicine, avoid giving two doses simultaneously. Simply give the amount that is due for that time frame to avoid an overdose.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen in Children

Some of the side effects that your child may experience include:

  • The limbs get filled with fluid and appear swollen
  • Excessive passing of flatulence
  • Rashes on different parts of the body
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Side effects in children

Precautions to Take While Giving Ibuprofen to Your Child

  1. Read all the drug facts such as ingredients, expiration dates, dosage amount and potential side-effect.
  2. Mixing of drugs with Ibuprofen can lead to death in certain cases. Always let your doctor know about any other medication that your child is having if the doctor recommends Ibuprofen.
  3. Make your child stand on a weighing scale before giving the Ibuprofen as the dosage is based on the weight of the child. Children are always growing, and an updated check on the weight can help you administer an accurate dose.
  4. Avoid prolonged usage of Ibuprofen as it can increase your child’s risk of developing heart disease.
  5. Make sure that your kids drink adequate water after taking the Ibuprofen tablet to avoid acidity.
  6. Keep the medicines away from the reach of children as some may find the taste nice.
  7. Make a note of the temperature of your child. Fever over 39 Degree centigrade may require some medical intervention.
  8. Avoid giving them medicines in the dark as the dosage may become wrong.
  9. Avoid giving Ibuprofen for a mild fever or a cold as prolonged use can lead to complications such as digestive problems.


  • How Long Does It Take to Work?

Once consumed, it can take about 15-30 minutes for the medicine to get into action. It would take about 1 hour for your child to feel the effects of it.

  • Can You Give Ibuprofen With Prescription Medicines?

It does not mix well with other medicines and is usually a recipe for disaster. Please mention to your doctor that your child is on other medication if Ibuprofen is suggested.

  • What if a Child Vomits?

If a child vomits after ingestion of the medicine, see if there is any darkening of stool accompanied by stomach pain. If this is the case, it may be a case of stomach ulcer and needs to be taken to a doctor. If it is exclusively vomiting, try giving the medicine along with food to reduce this.

Ibuprofen is an emergency medicine that can be used to relieve the symptoms rather than doing any healing work. While there are a lot of benefits, parents are always cautioned to use the medicine as a last resort. Sustained usage over time for even a mild fever can lead to issues like stomach ulcers and kidney stones.