While it can be tempting to use Benadryl for off-label uses such as helping your baby rest, using it on your little one is likely too risky unless your doctor advises it. This is because your child can have an adverse response to the medication. Side effects from Benadryl include:

  • dry mouth
  • rapid heart rate
  • stomach upset
  • vomiting

It is possible that some children can have an opposite reaction to the medication. This includes unintended responses, such as heightened energy. If you were hoping to use it for its sleep-inducing effects, there’s a chance it could do exactly the opposite.

Also, Benadryl is largely untested on children younger than age 2. This means that there aren’t standard dosages to recommend. The effects on infants can vary. For some little ones, the medication may be especially sedating or sleep-inducing. This could be concerning as a parent.

Some parents may try to give Benadryl for colds. According to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Benadryl isn’t advised for colds for those under age 4. Evidence suggests these cold medicines don’t really help, and they have a small risk of serious side effects. Between 1969 and 2006, there were reports that 60 young children died from decongestants or antihistamines.

Circumstances are different for every infant. If your child’s doctor does recommend using Benadryl for travel or otherwise on your baby, you may want to try a trial run at home first to see how your child responds. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction or unexpected response, you can quickly seek emergency medical treatment. That’s much better than needing help thousands of feet in the air.

Remember also that there are different formulations for Benadryl, including children’s formulations and adult ones. Always discuss with your child’s pediatrician the formulation you are considering using as well as the delivery route. For example, you should use the dropper that comes with the children’s Benadryl packaging instead of another measuring method or spoon to ensure the most accurate measurement.

Related Questions

Are there any cures for viruses? Unfortunately, there are no cures for common viruses. If your baby has a mild virus, you’ll have to get through it with tender loving care. Keep your baby comfortable at home and stick to their routine, offering frequent feedings and making sure they sleep.

Can I use a vapor rub on my baby? Vapor rubs (often containing menthol, eucalyptus, or camphor) are proven to be dangerous for children younger than 2 years old. Remember that increased mucus production is the body’s way of clearing out the virus, and it’s not a problem unless it’s severely affecting your baby’s ability to eat or breathe.

Can I rub my baby’s face to help with the congestion? Rubbing your baby’s face and head is a very good way to help them find some relief. Gently rub the bridge of the nose, eyebrows, cheekbones, hairline, and bottom of the head. Your touch can be soothing if your baby is congested and fussy.