42 answers

Getting 2 Year Old to Take Tylenol

Hi, Moms,
My 2-year-old has been sick with a cold or flu and fever for several days. I know he caught it from me so I know exactly how he feels -- and that he'd feel better if he would just take some Tylenol but he just won't take it. The doctor's office said to try mixing it into a smoothie, which worked for a day and now he refuses them. I've tried mixing it into everything -- pudding, ice cream, etc. I've tried crushing the chewable tablets into foods & he can still detect it. When he was feeling particularly warm tonight, I tried to force it down with a syringe-style dropper but he ended up just gagging it all up and throwing up his dinner in the process. He's asleep now but if it's anything like last night, he will fitfully sleep for awhile and keep getting up. I've tried to calmly explain to him that he'd feel a lot better if he would just take a little but he's stubborn. Any hints? Do any of the other brands of fever-reducer seem to taste better to your kids, etc. Thanks for your help. I know he'll get better soon but I hate to see him suffer.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I usually didnt use any meds on my boys for colds. Fever is the way the body fights the cold, tylenol just makes the process last longer. If you feel he's getting too hot put him in a bath of warm water and gradually cool the water down while he plays. Vicks on the bottom of the feet with some socks to cover is also comforting, helps with cough and fumes keep the nose running instead of stuffy. When kids are sick it makes them moody which is probably why he's refusing the flavorful meds.... just to show you he doesnt feel good. When the fever breaks he'll be good as new.

1 mom found this helpful

I've had more luck with the grape than the cherry. Sometimes I'll hold my daughter on my lap facing away from me, squeeze the sides of her mouth open, use a srynge to squirt it in the side/back of the cheek (NOT straight back in the throat, which causes gagging) then hold her mouth closed.

More often than not, though, outright bribery with a small amount of her favorite junk food works even better. I show the junk food to her, then tell her that I will eat it myself if she won't take the Tylenol. I'll look her in the eye and nibble just a bit of it. Ninety percent of the time this will get her to open her mouth. I use a (kid-sized) spoon for this method.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem and ended up mixing it in with a little 7-up which was a huge deal because we do not drink soda. It worked like a charm, also if you have some med that tastes really bad I mix it with Pepsi or Root Beer to disguise it even more. I find that the grape flavor of most meds tastes the best. My son is now 4 and he happily takes the Triaminic Thin Strips and Mucinex Mini Melts. Good Luck!

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I've had more luck with the grape than the cherry. Sometimes I'll hold my daughter on my lap facing away from me, squeeze the sides of her mouth open, use a srynge to squirt it in the side/back of the cheek (NOT straight back in the throat, which causes gagging) then hold her mouth closed.

More often than not, though, outright bribery with a small amount of her favorite junk food works even better. I show the junk food to her, then tell her that I will eat it myself if she won't take the Tylenol. I'll look her in the eye and nibble just a bit of it. Ninety percent of the time this will get her to open her mouth. I use a (kid-sized) spoon for this method.

1 mom found this helpful

I usually didnt use any meds on my boys for colds. Fever is the way the body fights the cold, tylenol just makes the process last longer. If you feel he's getting too hot put him in a bath of warm water and gradually cool the water down while he plays. Vicks on the bottom of the feet with some socks to cover is also comforting, helps with cough and fumes keep the nose running instead of stuffy. When kids are sick it makes them moody which is probably why he's refusing the flavorful meds.... just to show you he doesnt feel good. When the fever breaks he'll be good as new.

1 mom found this helpful

My soon to be 5yrs old son is the same way. He does not like strong, thick, and flavorful medicines so now I give him homeopathic medicine,(from wholefoods or rainbow at sf) which he gladly takes and asks for it. It is not instantly effective as it works with the natural body defenses to fight the cold, cough, or fever. Usually, I don't jump to give medicine until fever is too high (over 100 or 101) as the fever in itself is our defense and it needs to run it course. There are other things that can help such as chamomile tea, clear chicken soup, honey, and inhaling steam by running water in the bath . Good luck with your child.
-R.

I've been here! Sounds like you have tried everything! We had to force it with my daughter - she is older now - 3 - but I've since decided that if she won't take it, she won't take it. It's a bummer that then she might not feel better - but part of me wonders if the suffering and anxiety over taking it is as bad as how they feel anyway. So now I offer it - repeatedly - and encourage it - but if she is unwilling, I just let it go.
Obviously, if it's antibiotics or something prescribed, then you have to find a way. But in this case, I offer and leave it up to her. Hope he feels better soon!

Kim's idea is perfectly correct for giving a liquid to a child. I am just amazed, however, that you can't find a paracetamol based fever medication in a suppository form. That's how I've always administered to my son, still do at age 4 when he's just too sick to swallow. Plus, a suppository works really fast -- in about 15 minutes your child already starts feeling it's affect. Sorry I can't reccomend a name, I live in Europe; I would check with a pharmacist about this.

I would also look into getting a suppository ask the pharmacist at the store to help you find it and then just slip it in while changing the diaper and they won't even feel it. My boys both went through this where they would only take orange flavored medicine, so motrin was what we had to use. If we didn't have it and they were sick I used the bribing also, told them do it quick and then eat this to make the taste go away, if that didn't make them do it on there own I would squirt the medicine in the back of their cheek and then when they swallowed gave them the candy or snack.
good luck,
C.

I had the same problem and ended up mixing it in with a little 7-up which was a huge deal because we do not drink soda. It worked like a charm, also if you have some med that tastes really bad I mix it with Pepsi or Root Beer to disguise it even more. I find that the grape flavor of most meds tastes the best. My son is now 4 and he happily takes the Triaminic Thin Strips and Mucinex Mini Melts. Good Luck!

My two year old granddaughter will only take the grape flavored medications so you might try a different flavor. If that doesn't work, I used to wait until the children were asleep and then use the syringe to give them medication. They would automatically swallow when I put it in their mouth and never wake up. It's better than fighting them to take it!

I would definitely try suppositories. I know this would work for you. Call your pediatrician. Good luck!

M.,
You are doing everything you can and your little guy truly does not know what this icky stuff means to him. Now you are in a power struggle and it sounds like he is afraid of it and will use all of his might to avoid it. He is strong and in another area this will be a great skill. I would try stay as calm and indifferent as you can while trying different foods. I know you have tried a lot. Have you tried juce? Give him a luke warm bath. Do not use anyting to bring it down..just luke warm bath..
If his fever spikes and you are at a loss, I would call doctor go to urgent care. You will have extra arms and hands and they may have to give him a shot of tylenol but better than letting it escalate too high. All doctors have different thresholds on fevers because that is how we fight but I am always leary of high fevers and babies..I know your frustrations..have seen our ped's nurse soaked in tylenol spat my my then 3 year old son and finally got him to take chewable grape ones at age 4. He will not take liquid meds well unless camoflouages and has high anxiety around needles, taking up to 5 people to get him in a burrito hold to draw blood once. It breaks my heart and I hope you get some rest.

dear M. k
i am the oldest of five kids and i think that every kid hates medecine.i dont blame them.if i were you i would tell him that everytime he takes medecine he gets a special treat.we are currently trying to get my little brothers to go to the bathroom on the toilet and every time they do they get a chocolate.they love iy and it works.if this doesnt work tell him you will take him to get a toy.godd luck with this and i hope he feels better.
F.

Rather than MIXING the Tylenol with something (which just makes that other thing taste awful), try immediately FOLLOWING the Tylenol with whatever his favorite thing is. I usually use ice cream -- but mix in doesn't work. It has to come after so that it totally wipes out the taste of the medicine. Good luck!

Try a different brand and let him drink it out of the little measuring cap that comes with the bottle. My daughter loves drinking her medications out of the little cap all by herself. LOL! Good luck!

I let my daughter pick the color and she seems to prefer the grape. Why not try motrin instead? It may not be as offensive.

Try giving him the infant drops, the grape was the one my son preferred. Teh taste is a little sweeter.

good luck

I would simply use other means to keep him comfortable. It may mean you need to leave other things go for a while so you can comfort him, but it's worth the time and effort. I keep hearing that meds aren't recommended for children his age now.
My personal practice when my children were small was to use as little as possible. I also follow that practice for my own illnesses and feel I am much healthier than most women my age.

I have several thoughts about this: 1) Is your child miserable during the day? How high is the fever? If he is acting pretty normal and his temperature is low (about 100 or 101 or less), then don't give him the medicine. His body is fighting off the germs.

2) Have you tried tylenol grape or cherry flavors? There is also motrin in berry flavor with or without dye. My 4 year old doesn't like the motrin, but each child has different tastes. My 20 month old like the tylenol grape with the syringe, so I'm sticking with that for a while.

3)Have you mixed the liquid medicine with juice? When my 4 year old daughter was about 2 she hated medicine, but she would drink it mixed with juice, which she loved.

AS an infant/toddler, my daughter would not take tylenol-- had a terrible aversion to it (sounds similar to your son.) She had febrile seizures so when I felt a fever coming on, I took the decision out of her hands and gave her a pain reliever in suppository form. Not pleasant, but did the trick. I think you can still get them from the drug store in infant/toddler dosages. Good luck!

My son likes the grape flavored ibuprofen (I buy the Walgreens brand at Walgreens). Also, you could try putting the grape flavor ibuprofen in grape flavored pedialyte (again I buy the generic). Children generally like pedialyte. When my son is sick I tell him I bought "special" grape juice (he doesn't get grape juice very often because it stains so much). He feels grape juice is a treat. He usually drinks a good portion of it once he's tried it. The extra electrolytes couldn't hurt since your son is sick and probably slight bit dehydrated anyway. You could also try reverting back to a sippy cup if he's already graduated to regular cups. Less effort needed on his part. Good luck.

Dear M.,
My daughter was a complete demon when it came to medication of any kind. Most of it ended up spilled or spit out. I tried hiding it...it never worked. The only thing she would willingly take was the antibiotics that tasted like bubble gum.
By the time she was 2, she swallowed pills with juice, like an adult takes pills. That's the only way I could ever get anything in her. It worked for us.
My son never fussed about taking medicine. Even if he didn't like the taste of it. He would still take it.
So, good luck with that!

When my son was small he also absolutely refused to take any medicine -- gagged, spit it out, the works. The few times he had a high fever and we really needed to bring it down, we used children's acetominophin suppositories. I know it sounds icky, but when we were desperate it really made a difference. It is available on the drug store shelf; check with your doctor or pharmacist about the dose. We have also used homeopathic remedies with success, but hitting on the right remedy can be difficult if you don't have help from someone experienced with it. Good luck and hope he feels better.

Hi M.
Try Tylenol suppositories - talk with your pharmacist about it. Dosage is based on the child's weight.

M.

Here is a link to a tylenol product that might work...it has better flavors and is like those mouthwash melt in your mouth things...

Good luck! I know what a pain it is to get little kids to take meds.

http://tylenol.com/product_detail.jhtml?id=tylenol/childr...

I know Tylenol makes other flavors too. I think grape and strawberry. My son really likes the strawberry. It's worth a try.

Good luck and many blessings.

N.

Why are you trying to force him to take tylenol? From your post it sounds like you are suffering more than him. He may not feel as bad as you did or have the same flu you did though some symptoms may be the same. Just beause kids have a fever and or the flu doesn't mean they have to have medicine. Fever's are not bad things, they are actually good, just ask any Dr. It seems you want him to take the medicine and if he is refusing don't fight it especially to the point of him throwing up, more harm than good. Your heart is in the right place, but your actions are not the right ones. He will fitfully sleep, due to the stuffy nose etc and being sick, Tylenol does not relieve any of these. Also if he is eating, not lethargic, his fever and flu is probably not as bad as we think it is. Sorry I'm writing so much, I just don't think you should force the medicine on him. I hope both of you feel better soon and best wishes.

The suppositories on the drugstore shelf are called Fever-All and they work wonderful. They offer them in both Infant and Childrens formula. I'd check with the pharmacist (or the advise nurse) as to dosage. I'm pretty sure it goes by weight. We had to use them for almost 2 years because my son hated the taste of any medicine, and could detect even the smallest amount mixed in his food or juice! If you are a little weary about suppositories, just put a little Vaseline on the tip. You don't have to push in very far, as they kinda get "sucked" in by the baby's bottom when inserting. Easy to do when you have them laying on the changing table. Good luck!

S. in Petaluma

I would pretend to give it to her favorite stuffed animal and myself and we all take turns. It was the only way. My daughter only likes graped flavored. For colds, Steam baths are always good and the vicks rub for babies helps relieve her congestion.

Motrin is sweet and our twins think it is a treat when they get it. We use the dye free berry flavor.

To get our son to take liquid Tylenol, we used a syringe. We inserted the medicine between his teeth & his cheek. That way, it bypasses a lot of his taste buds and doesn't taste as bad. Getting our son to swallow the medicine was very difficult, until I read somewhere that you should blow gently into his face. This forces him to take a breath, which allows him to swallow the medicine. Our son used to fight us every time we gave him medicine. If he thrashed around too much, or put up a fight, we had to wrap him up in a towel or sheet to keep his arms still. I know with Antibiotics, Pharmacies can usually mix it with a variety of flavors to make it taste better. You could always ask the Pharmacy to add flavors to your liquid Tylenol. Just a though. Good luck!

my child did the same thing! I used fever-All suppositories. All of my kids would rather do that than take something by mouth! Hope that helps! Walgreens has it. (red box)

Is it possible to give him a tylenol rectal suppository? I know that it's given to adults but not sure about little ones of his age. Check it out, it might make your life much easier and his, plus it is much more effective than the oral form.

I used to put the liquid into my daughter's juice..and she hated taking any meds ever! Good luck!

Did you try both flavors? They make a cherry (which my son prefers) and grape (which my son hates). It may be worth trying. What about bribery? If you take this I'll give you an m & m or something he would be excited about.

The suppositories work great! My son never took meds, sometimes still won't, and we have used the suppositories for years. Ask your pahrmacist but they are over the counter. They are easy to use too, not as gross as you may think.

My daughter had to drink Pedialite as a baby when she had rota virus and we were able to slip the meds in to that. She didn't detect it and liked the sweet flavor of the Pedialite.

When that didn't work, we used a large syring doser so that she couldn't close her mouth. We'll put the syring between her back teeth and she wasn't able to close and had to swallow. We only did that when she had really high fevers (104).

Good luck.
s

Try the grape flavor. I had the same problem with my daughter till someone recommened the grape flavor to me. Good luck

Hi M.!

I still have better luck with Motrin. The flavor is called "berry" but it's an orange color. I always let my big guys taste it first, so they know it's the exact same medicine as the last time and I'm not "tricking" them.

I think when it comes to medicine, it's just too scary for some kids. It sounds like your little one is going to picky to medicine's, so you need to find a flavor that works FOR SURE! Once you do, then you need the same flavor for Runny noses, coughs, etc... That's what I have to do for one of my boys. Everything is orange, and there is SO MUCH less arguing than there used to be :o)

I"m sorry your little one is sick. You must be exhausted. Take care of you both, and I hope you're feeling better soon.

~N. :o)

We use the orange colored Motrin, it's also a fever reducer and both kids love the taste and always want more :) Good luck!

Hi,
Sorry your son is sick. My daughter has asthma and some of the medication tastes terrible. we tried to hide the taste but it never worked, we ended up making a star chart. each time she took it like a brave big girl we would complement her and tell her she was acting like what ever action figure she thought was great (like batman) and then she got a star on a chart. after 10 stars (she takes it 2 times daily so 10 comes up quickly ) we buy her a small gift of her choosing. like a candy or tiny toy. it has worked for us and we started the cart before she was 2. It makes her feel like she is doing something big and is part of the treatment not a victim of it.
J.

Try pouring two medince cups, one with Tylenol and the other with a similarly colored juice. (Do this out of sight of your kids) With both kids in the room, give the 5 year old juice in the medicine cup then praise him/her for doing such a good job and give a treat that both kids like. Tell the 2 year old he can have the treet after he drinks his medicine. My little one hates medicine, but loves to do what her sister does. So this works for us.

My two year old likes the taste of the Meltaways (I think the dose is 2 tbs, but she'll have one and then want the other). It's Tylenol...

I would try suppositories if I were you. Make sure you use some petroleum jelly too. They melt in your fingers so you gotta work fast. I like Feverall. It works fast too.

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