Benadryl for Babies: Considering Safety of the Medication

We all must have heard of the name Benadryl repeatedly in every household, especially when a child or an adult is experiencing a minor cold and Flu or allergic reactions emerge from it. The name is significantly common and one of the most prevalent over-the-counter medications. However, the matter of concern is how safe is Benadryl for babies?

Parents should be overly cautious when it comes to small infants, as they have a delicate system that is more prone to diseases. As an adult, our body goes through several tribulations and immunizations to finally gain the strength to consume a minor medication. But for babies, the case is the opposite, and they are still very new to the world and their bodies steadily adapting immunity to possible health conditions. 

If a parent does not validate the authenticity and safety of the medication they are exposing their children to; they are deliberately putting their toddlers in harm’s way. If a baby starts his course of suffering from minor allergic reactions or respiratory issues, you will begin stacking several medications at your home; however, you will not have the courage to try them. Most parents would ask the doctors; Is Benadryl for babies, or is experimenting not a good option?

Let’s find out the precise understanding of whether Benadryl for babies is a wise choice or a tremendous blunder. 

Benadryl: What to Know?

benadryl for babies


Benadryl is a brand name given to a drug medically known as Diphenhydramine. As discussed in some of our other blogs, histamine is a chemical released by our body due to an allergic reaction getting triggered. Cold and Flu or any other respiratory allergens have a similar effect inside a person’s body, and that is why an antihistamine medication works best in such cases. 

Diphenhydramine, or what we commonly term Benadryl, is an antihistamine consumed by people for a very long time. As Carithers Pediatric Group explains it, Diphenhydramine works as a receptor antagonist drug that people generally utilize for curing symptoms such as seasonal allergies, environmental or contact allergies, hay fever and is even used as a part of medication for Cold. 

Chest congestion and runny nose are ubiquitous cold and flu symptoms; however, Benadryl has always been the solution for most people. After a few dosages, it could slow down the reflexes and drowsy effect to numb the allergic reaction. The drug comes in various forms, such as liquid syrup, chewable and non-chewable tablets, and powdered substances that readily dissolve in water and consume. 

Benadryl for Babies: What Could Go Wrong?

benadryl for babies


Now, let’s come back to the fundamental discussion of our blog: Benadryl for babies. Today, the market has a variety of alternatives to Benadryl, such as Zyrtec and Claritin. These are considered better in terms of making people feel relatively less drowsy. However, no newer modification could change the most significant factor that Benadryl for babies is a poisonous and detrimental substance. 

After the first few months have passed, a child slowly begins interacting with the environment. No matter how cautious you are as a parent, diseases such as the runny nose and chest congestion are inevitable, especially to delicate bodies. Your baby might also experience some allergic reaction to a food. Hence, they would find it difficult to sleep, constantly nagging and depicting an undefined behavior throughout the day as a parent; one could have an immediate thought about Benadryl for babies.

Here is an important note to make, Benadryl is usually available for 12 years and older individuals. Yes, there are Benadryl for babies available at your chemist, but you would not want to put your child through that risk.  There is no doubt in the fact that your pediatrician would never ask you to give your 6-month-old child the infant Benadryl.

Even though there are different forms of Infant Benadryl available, it does not expose your child to danger any less. Let’s look into some details given by FDA and renowned Pediatricians about Benadryl for Toddlers.

Fda’s Warning Against Benadryl for Babies Under 2

benadryl for babies


Under their official website, the Food and Drug Administration has mandated parents and guardians to understand what could go wrong with Benadryl for Babies mainly. The administration mentioned that parents must not give any syrup or medication to cure cough and colds in infants or 6-month-old toddlers. Since most of these cough and cold treating over-the-counter medications include antihistamines, they are fatal and contain high-risk factors for babies. 

FDA mentions that in the U.S, some druggists voluntarily took the step of removing over-the-counter medications like Benadryl for babies that could have detrimental health hazardous in infants and children till the age of 2. It happened due to a good number of cases reported related to deaths caused by Benadryl for toddlers. When a child suffers from cough, cold, and symptoms like chest congestion, they cannot sleep and repeatedly cry. Since Benadryl for babies could help these toddlers have a sound sleep, parents would unknowingly overdose them with the drug. As a result, several infants were treated as emergency cases of Benadryl overdose. Hence, the parents are always advised to read through the labels while buying the infant’s Benadryl. 

What Are Some Risk Factors Associated with Benadryl for Babies?

Several pediatric experts have expressed their opinion regarding the availability of different kinds of Benadryl for babies within every drug store. Even though FDA has specifically asked the Pharma companies to follow the labeling rule on the medicines, the risk does not get any less. 

Most Pediatricians recommend Benadryl or antihistamines to infants or 6-month-old babies when they suffer from a minor allergic reaction; however, no doctor recommends the same for cough and cold. The MedicalNewsToday mentions some of the available products related to Benadryl for babies specifically meant for minor allergic reactions in toddlers above the age of 6 years. These involve, Children’s Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid, Children’s Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion, Children’s Benadryl Chewables, and Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid.

Now, as a parent, if you unknowingly make your infant consume  any of these infant Benadryl varieties, you expose them to specific risks such as,

  • Rapid Heart Rate 
  • Convulsions
  • Inability to sleep
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue and Drowsiness
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • A sore throat
  • Seizures 
  • Difficulty to breathe
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Apart from these risk factors, overdosing on Benadryl for babies could lead to the sudden death of a child. Also, it is necessary to be mindful of the dosage of Benadryl for children over the age of 6 years too, as an overdose may cause: 

  • Blurry Vision
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in waking up from sleep
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry and blotchy red skin
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Hallucinations
  • Unable to pass urine
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nervousness

It is advisable also for adults to not OD on Benadryl or any other antihistamine, as the above risk factors are prevalent in people of all ages.

Alternative Treatments to Benadryl for Babies

There are other alternative treatment options for curing a cold. So rather than thinking about an adverse option like Benadryl for babies, you can try performing these activities at home:

  • Use a humidifier that helps clear the nasal passage and makes it easier for your baby to breathe. It would help them have a sound sleep at night. Remember not to use hot humidifiers, as it would only result in swelling up the passage, making it even more difficult to breathe than it already is. 
  • Keep them hydrated and offer sufficient fluids. 
  • You can apply saline drops to their nose, which would help them loosen up the stuffy nose appropriately.
  • If your child is suffering from fever, there are medications available for children, such as children’s paracetamol but do not use it unless the doctor recommends it.

Also Read: How to Sleep-Train a Baby to Start Sleeping Alone

Benadryl for Babies Dosage Chart

benadryl for babies


While we have gone through all the risk factors and possible warnings from the FDA regarding Benadryl for Babies, it is essential to take note of another element. As we have repeatedly mentioned above in the blog, doctors recommend an infant with any Benadryl product only when they find the child suffering from an allergic reaction.

However, as Ready Set Food explains it, a child’s severe allergic reaction could not be cured with the help of Benadryl for Toddlers. If a child younger or older than two years of age suffers from any life-threatening allergic response such as Anaphylaxis, they would probably need a shot of Epinephrine, also known as Epi-Pen.

When we are talking about Benadryl for Babies’ dosage, it would all come back to which type of Benadryl the doctor recommends and the age and weight of your baby. So here is the children’s Benadryl dosage chart.

Toddler’s Age Children’s Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid  Children’s Benadryl Allergy Plus Decongestant & Sinus Medicine Children’s Benadryl Chewables  Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid
Under 2 Do not use  Do not use Do not use  Do not use
From 2 to 5 Only under Doctor’s Recommendation Do not use for children under 4 (As per doctor’s advice for children over the age of 4) Only under Doctor’s Recommendation Under Doctor’s Recommendation
From 6 to 11 1-2 tbs (Every 4-6 Hours) 1 tbs (Every 4-6 Hours or as per doctor’s instruction) 1-2 Chewables (Every 4-6 hours or as per doctor’s instruction) 1 tbs (Every 4-6 Hours or as per doctor’s instruction)
Above 12 years 2-4 Chewables (Every 4-6 hours or as per doctor’s instruction)

Final Word

Remember that syrups for cold are never a good option, and if the need arises, always consult with your Pediatrician and know whether or not there is a requirement for Benadryl for Babies. It is strictly advisable to not self-medicate a child under 4 years with antihistamine medications unless they suffer from an allergic reaction and the doctor recommends the same.

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