The staff of Panda Pediatrics, located in Washington, D.C.
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In order to diagnose a fever, first check your child's temperature (Is It a Fever?).
For children ages 2-12 years, you may follow the instructions on the bottle. However, the best method of dosing for all children under 80 pounds, and especially for babies, is to dose based on weight.
When dealing with a high fever, it is always best to use the full dose for weight, as it will be more effective than a small dose. For medication dosing, fever is generally considered any temperature greater than 101.4°F (38°C).
In order to clinically evaluate your child, it is important to get the fever down by administering the proper dose of Tylenol or Motrin. Do not give Tylenol before two months of age unless directed to do so by your doctor. Give only Tylenol at 15 mg/kg body weight between 2 and 6 months of age, every four hours. After 6 months of age, you may give either Tylenol at 15 mg per kilo of body weight every 4 hours or Motrin 10 mg/kg of body weight, every 6-8 hours. It is ordinarily not necessary to alternate Tylenol and Motrin.
For high fevers over 103°F, we may suggest that you alternate Tylenol and Motrin for 24 hours. When alternating them, the same dosages are used. Each is given every 6 hours, so that medication is being given every three hours: 12PM Tylenol, 3PM Motrin, 6PM Tylenol, 9PM Motrin, etc.