Handy chart suggests OTC cough/cold dosages for kids

This handy chart shows what OTC cough and cold dosages the pediatric population should get



Handy chart suggests OTC cough/cold dosages for kids

With cough and cold season upon us, here's a resource to help you answer the many questions parents will bombard you with about what OTC dosages they should give their tiny tots. It was prepared by pediatric specialists at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. They developed this dosing chart in response to the many requests for help from area pediatricians and pharmacists. For added safety, the pediatric population should use OTC cough and cold products that contain single ingredients. Thus the chart is organized by single ingredients. The dosages listed are evidence-based and cover patients down to one month of age.



Pediatric doses: OTC cough and cold


(should not be used in children under 1 month of age)

1-24 months:0.125 mg/kg/doseQ 6-8 hours 
 2-6 years:1 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 6-8 mg /day
 6-12 years:2 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 12-16 mg/day
 12+ years:4 mgQ 4-6 hours 


(young children may be more susceptible to side effects and CNS stimulation)

1-24 months:0.35 mg/kg/day in divided dosesQ 4-6 hours 
 2-5 years:1 mgQ 4-6 hours 
 6-11 years:2 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 12 mg/day
 12+ years:4 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 24 mg/day
Dextromethorphan1-3 months:0.5-1 mgQ 6-8 hours 
3-6 months:1-2 mgQ 6-8 hours 
7 months-1 year:2-4 mgQ 6-8 hours 
>2-6 years:2.5-7.5 mgQ 4-8 hoursMAX 30 mg/day
7-12 years:5-10 mgQ 4 hoursMAX 60 mg/day
or15 mgQ 6-8 hoursMAX 60 mg/day
12+ years:10-30 mgQ 4-8 hoursMAX 120 mg/day


(for treatment of minor allergic reactions)

1-24 months:1-1.5 mg/kg/doseQ 6-8 hours 
 2-< 6 years:6.25 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 37.5 mg/day
 6-12 years:12.5-25 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 150 mg/day
 12+ years:25-50 mgQ 4-6 hoursMAX 300 mg/day
Guaifenesin< 2 years:2 mg/kg/doseQ 4 hoursMAX 300 mg/day
2-5 years:50-100 mgQ 4 hoursMAX 600 mg/day
6-11 years:100-200 mgQ 4 hoursMAX 1200 mg/day
12+ years:200-400 mgQ 4 hoursMAX 2400 mg/day


(do not use for more than
3 – 5 days)

*do not use in infants less than 6 months of age

6 months-1 year:1-2 drops of 0.16%Q 3 hours 
 1-6 years:2-3 drops of 0.125%Q 4 hours p.r.n. 
 6-12 years:2-3 drops of 0.25%Q 4 hours p.r.n. 
 12+ years:2-3 drops or  
1-2 sprays of 0.25-0.5%Q 4 hours p.r.n. 
Pseudoephedrine< 2 years:1 mg/kg/doseQ 6 hoursMAX 4 doses/day
2-5 years:15 mgQ 6 hoursMAX 60 mg/day
6-12 years:30 mgQ 6 hoursMAX 120 mg/day
12+ years:60 mgQ 6 hoursMAX 240 mg/day


Authors: Tracy M. Hagemann, Pharm.D.; Kendra McConnell, Pharm.D. candidate; Kelly Hill, Pharm.D. candidate; University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy

Source: CRL Online: Clinical Reference Library Online. Lexi-Comp Inc. Hudson, Ohio: 1978-2003. Micromedex Thomson Healthcare. Micromedex Healthcare Series Vol. 118; expires 12/2003

Disclaimer: The authors have made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained above is accurate in accordance with the latest available scientific knowledge at the time of publication. No liability will be assumed for the use of this educational reference. Users are strongly encouraged to consult the primary literature for complete information.

Tracy Hagemann. Handy chart suggests OTC cough/cold dosages for kids. Drug Topics Dec. 8, 2003;147:57.