September 17, 2018

Is It Safe to Use Benadryl in Infants?

If your baby has an allergy, you may be wondering if it’s safe to give an allergy treatment like Benadryl to infants. Usually, doctors don’t recommend treating infants with Benadryl products. But sometimes, infants younger than 2 years of age can be given Benadryl under the supervision of a specialist.


Benadryl is a popular allergy medication that helps to reduce the symptoms like sneezing, itching, and skin rash.

Benadryl is available over the counter, and you can find this medication in several forms. For example, some of them contain doses suitable for children over the age of 6.

While there are no specific child-friendly products for infants or children younger than 6 years of age available in the United States, some formulations, including creams, sprays, or gels can be used in infants aged 2 and over.

Is It Safe to Give Benadryl to Babies?


Benadryl products are usually not considered safe for infants that are younger than 2 years of age. However, if your doctor considers that the benefits of using the drug are higher than the risks, you can give the medication to your child to treat an allergic reaction. Remember that it’s important to follow the directions and dosage recommendations of your healthcare provider.

Children aged 2 to 5 can be given Benadryl safely in some cases, but only when a specialist recommends such a treatment.

There is also a child-friendly form of Benadryl, which is suitable for kids aged 6 and over.

What Is Benadryl Used For?


Benadryl is an allergy drug whose active ingredient is known as diphenhydramine. This is an antihistamine that is also contained in various cough and cold meds.

Cough and cold products containing diphenhydramine and other antihistamines, or decongestants can be dangerous for children younger than 2 years. These drugs are not very effective, and they may cause a number of serious side effects.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warn that such medications can cause infants to experience serious and even life-threatening adverse reactions, such as tachycardia and convulsions.

Therefore, you shouldn’t give your baby Benadryl or similar products to treat cold or cough. Instead, you should try other, less risky treatment methods.

However, doctors may recommend using Benadryl, in case of an allergic reaction.

Drowsiness is a common mild side effect of Benadryl. However, using this drug to make a child sleepy is not an option.

What Is a Child-Friendly Benadryl?


As mentioned above, Benadryl allergy medication is available in different formulation. Certain formulations are suitable for children aged 6 or more.

If your child has an allergy, you can try the following products:

  • Children’s Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid,
  • Children’s Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion,
  • Children’s Benadryl Chewables,
  • Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid.

These medications are considered safe for children who are 6 years old or older.

Remember that you shouldn’t give adult medications, including Benadryl, to a child. If you do, there is a high risk of an overdose, because adult dosages are higher than those designed for children.

Adult Benadryl and other adult medicines are usually safe for children aged 12 and above. Make sure to check the instructions provided on the product package.

What Is the Correct Benadryl Dosage for Infants?


Factors that help to determine the appropriate dosage of a medication for a child include the age of the child and the type of medication. Besides, specific doses are often recommended, based on the child’s weight.

It is important to always follow the instructions on the product label, as well as the recommendations of your doctor. You should never increase the dose. In case your child takes more medication than needed, you should seek for immediate medical attention.

Remember that different Benadryl products may have different recommended dosages for different ages.

Thus, a recommended dosage of Children’s Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid is 1 or 2 tsp (or 5-10 ml) every 4-6 hours for children aged 6 to 11. The use of the drug in children aged 2 to 5 should be supervised by a professional. Infants younger than 2 years of age should not be given this medication.

What Are the Risks Associated with Benadryl Use?


Benadryl and other antihistamines are associated with a number of potential side effects. These side effects may include: sleepiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, restlessness, a runny nose, a sore throat, dryness in the mouth, upset stomach, nausea or diarrhea.

If given to a child under 2 years of age, this medication may cause severe and even life-threatening adverse reactions. Therefore, you should never give Benadryl products to your baby at home.

The Bottom Line


Benadryl is an effective medication that helps to control the symptoms of allergies and colds. However, it is also associated with various side effects ranging from mild to severe and fatal.

Drowsiness is a common side effect of Benadryl. Remember that this drug should never be given to a child to make them sleepy.

The use of Benadryl in infants and young children is not considered to be safe. Infants under 2 years of age should not be given this medicine, unless directed by a doctor.

The use of diphenhydramine-containing cough and cold medications is contraindicated in infants and young children.

It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations or the instructions on the product label, when giving Benadryl to children. Make sure to use the correct dosage, according to your child’s age or weight. Never increase the recommended dose or give it more often, unless directed by a doctor.

You may also need to avoid using other medications, while giving Benadryl. If you have any questions concerning the use of Benadryl, make sure to consult with your doctor.

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