Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter medication used to relieve pain, reduce fever, and decrease inflammation. It comes in several strengths, including 200 mg tablets. Parents often wonder if it is safe for children to take the 200 mg dose of ibuprofen.
- Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets are approved for use in children ages 12 years and older.
- Younger children may be advised to take a lower dose based on their weight and age.
- Do not give ibuprofen to children under 6 months old without medical advice.
- Always follow dosing instructions on the label or given by your pediatrician.
While ibuprofen 200 mg tablets are approved for use in older children, the dose given to younger kids is based on their weight and age. Giving the right dose helps maximize benefits while minimizing potential side effects.
Ibuprofen Dosage for Children
The appropriate ibuprofen dose for children depends on their weight and age:
Children under 6 months
Ibuprofen is not approved for use in children under 6 months old. Their kidneys are still developing, so ibuprofen could potentially harm them. Do not give ibuprofen to infants without first consulting a doctor.
Children 6 months to 23 months
For children aged 6 months to 23 months old, the recommended ibuprofen dose is 50 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed. This is equal to 1.25 mL or about 1/4 teaspoon of Children’s Motrin or other ibuprofen suspensions. Do not exceed 100 mg over 24 hours without medical advice.
Children 2 to 3 years
Kids aged 2 to 3 years can take 100 mg of ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours as needed. This equals 2.5 mL or 1/2 teaspoon of infant drops or suspension. Do not go over 400 mg in 24 hours.
Children 4 to 5 years
For children aged 4 to 5 years, the dose is 150 mg every 6 to 8 hours. This equals 3.75 mL or 3/4 teaspoon of suspension. Again, do not exceed more than 400 mg per day.
Children 6 to 8 years
Kids aged 6 to 8 can take 200 mg ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours as needed. This is equal to 1 tablet or 5 mL/1 teaspoon of suspension. Do not exceed 800 mg per day.
Children 9 to 10 years
For children aged 9 to 10 years, the dose is 200 to 300 mg every 6 to 8 hours. Give them 1 to 1.5 tablets or 5 to 7.5 mL (1 to 1.5 teaspoons) of suspension. Do not exceed 1200 mg in 24 hours.
Children 11 years and older
Once kids reach 11 years of age, they can take 200 to 400 mg ibuprofen every 4 to 6 hours as needed. This equals 1 to 2 tablets or 5 to 10 mL (1 to 2 teaspoons) of suspension. Do not go over 1200 mg per day.
Ibuprofen 200 mg for Children 12 and Up
Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets are approved for use in children 12 years and older. This age group can take 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not exceed more than 1200 mg or 6 tablets in 24 hours.
While technically approved, some pediatricians recommend children weighing less than 100 pounds only take the lower 100 mg dose. So even though the 200 mg dose is approved for kids over 12, weight and body size should also be considered.
Precautions When Giving Ibuprofen to Children
When giving ibuprofen to children, keep the following precautions in mind:
- Carefully follow dosing instructions based on your child’s weight and age.
- Do not exceed the recommended maximum daily dose.
- Only use the suspension formulas designed for children.
- Use an accurate dosing device like an oral syringe or measuring spoon.
- Avoid combination products that contain ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Do not give ibuprofen to children with certain conditions like dehydration, kidney problems, or bleeding disorders without consulting a doctor.
- Stop use and call a doctor if side effects develop.
When used as directed, ibuprofen can safely treat pain and fever in children. But giving too much can lead to potential problems. Always double check the label to ensure proper dosing based on your child’s age and size.
Side Effects of Ibuprofen in Children
When taken as recommended, ibuprofen is generally well tolerated in kids. However, some mild side effects are possible, including:
- Upset stomach, nausea
- Skin rash
In rare cases, ibuprofen may also cause:
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems
- Allergic reaction
- Breathing problems like asthma
- Prolonged bleeding
Discontinue ibuprofen and seek medical care if your child experiences any unusual side effects. Call your pediatrician right away if they have signs of stomach bleeding like black, tarry stools or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Interactions with Other Medications
Before giving your child ibuprofen, be sure to review any other medications they take. Ibuprofen can interact with several drugs, including:
- Blood thinners
- ACE inhibitors for blood pressure
- Diuretics or “water pills”
- NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen
- Certain antibiotics like ciprofloxacin
Combining ibuprofen with any of these drugs may increase the risk of side effects. Always let your doctor or pharmacist know about any medications your child takes, even over-the-counter products.
Alternatives to Ibuprofen for Children
For a child that cannot tolerate ibuprofen or needs additional options, some alternatives include:
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help reduce pain and fever in children without the anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen. Use the appropriate dose based on your child’s weight and age.
Aspirin is not recommended for children under 18 years old due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome. But for older teens, it may be an alternative to ibuprofen for certain conditions.
Naproxen (Aleve) is another NSAID similar to ibuprofen, but its longer half-life allows less frequent dosing. Children ages 2 and up can take naproxen based on their weight.
For localized pain, topical creams, gels, sprays, or patches containing lidocaine, diclofenac, or other analgesics can provide relief without systemic effects.
Applying heat or ice to the affected area may ease soreness and swelling in some cases based on the type of injury.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, ibuprofen can be given to children safely at home to manage minor pain or fever. But contact your pediatrician if your child:
- Is under 6 months old and has a fever – do not give ibuprofen without first speaking to your doctor
- Requires ibuprofen more frequently than directed
- Needs a higher dose to get relief
- Has signs of stomach bleeding like black or bloody vomit/stool
- Experiences wheezing or other breathing issues after taking ibuprofen
- Develops a rash, itching, or swelling after using ibuprofen
For severe or persistent symptoms, take your child to urgent care or the ER. Seek emergency care if your child has difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips/throat, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, or other signs of an allergic reaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I give a 200 mg ibuprofen tablet to my 8 year old?
Children ages 6-8 can generally take 200 mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours as needed based on weight and age. For an 8 year old, one 200 mg tablet is likely fine for treating pain or fever when used as directed. But do not exceed more than 800 mg total daily without medical advice.
Is it safe to cut a 200 mg pill in half for my child?
Cutting a higher strength ibuprofen pill in half is one way to achieve a lower dose for some children. But it’s better to use properly formulated children’s suspensions or tablets when possible. If cutting pills, be sure to use a proper pill cutter and divide evenly for an accurate dose.
Can I give 200 mg ibuprofen to my child long-term?
Prolonged regular use of ibuprofen is generally discouraged in children, even at lower doses. Ibuprofen should only be given for short periods of acute pain or fever. Chronic daily usage may increase the risk of side effects. Discuss long-term pain management options with your pediatrician if your child needs regular medication.
What’s the maximum daily dose of ibuprofen for a 10 year old?
The recommended maximum ibuprofen dose per 24 hours for a child aged 9-10 years is 1200 mg. This would equal 6 of the 200 mg tablets. Always start with the lowest effective dose and adjust as needed, while staying below the maximum daily limit.
Should I give ibuprofen with food?
Yes, it’s generally best to give ibuprofen to children with food or milk. This helps reduce upset stomach side effects. Try to time the doses around meal or snack times when possible.
|Age||Dose||Frequency||Maximum Daily Dose|
|6-23 months||50 mg||Every 6-8 hours as needed||100 mg|
|2-3 years||100 mg||Every 6-8 hours as needed||400 mg|
|4-5 years||150 mg||Every 6-8 hours as needed||400 mg|
|6-8 years||200 mg||Every 6-8 hours as needed||800 mg|
|9-10 years||200-300 mg||Every 6-8 hours as needed||1200 mg|
|11 years and older||200-400 mg||Every 4-6 hours as needed||1200 mg|
The Bottom Line
Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets can be used in children aged 12 years and up. But for younger kids, the dose needs to be adjusted based on weight and age. Carefully follow dosing instructions and never exceed the recommended maximum daily amount. Ibuprofen can help reduce fever and pain when used properly in children. But consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions.