Woman looks at pharmacy shelf.

8 tips for navigating the children’s Tylenol and Motrin shortage


Fever-reducing medications, available in liquid formulas for children, have become harder to find in many parts of the country, including the Sacramento region.

The reason: A surging demand due to a significant increase in respiratory illnesses.

UC Davis pediatricians offer the following 8 suggestions for families who are looking for alternatives when they can’t find children’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen).

  1. Do not give adult Tylenol or Motrin to children under 12.
  2. Search for generic versions of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which may be in stock instead of brand names Tylenol or Motrin.
  3. Consider children’s acetaminophen suppositories. Use as directed. Don’t administer orally.
  4. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any extra children’s over-the-counter medication they would share. Also, make sure medicine has not expired.
  5. Do not substitute with aspirin.
  6. Be careful of medications with multiple medications within one (Mucinex, Nyquil, etc.) which may not be safe for younger children.
  7. Remember that not all fevers need to be treated with medicine. Dress your child in light, loose clothing and be sure they are well hydrated.
  8. Do not use ibuprofen in children younger than six months, unless prescribed by a physician.
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