Aspirin should not be given to children
Just about every household contains aspirin, and it was not too many years ago that children took orange-flavored "baby aspirin" all the time. Today, children under age 17 are never given aspirin because of the concern about Reyes Syndrome, a potentially deadly disease affecting the brain and the liver. According to this article:
One study found that 90 percent of patients with Reye's syndrome had taken aspirin before or during a viral illness. People, especially children, with viral illnesses are encouraged not to use aspirin or any medications containing aspirin since it could trigger Reye's syndrome.
The probability of contracting Reyes syndrome is small, but there is no need to take the risk when other pain relievers are available.
The other concern with aspirin is that a child will get into a bottle of aspirin and swallow a dozen tablets.
According to this article:
A potentially toxic dose is seen above 150 mg/kg to 300 mg/kg (mg of aspirin/kg body weight).
For a 22 pound child, this translates into just 5 to 10 regular-strenth tablets, or 3 to 5 extra-stength tablets. If the tablets are brightly colored and gel-coated, it is not hard to imagine a young child swallowing that many.
Steps you can take
- To avoid Reyes syndrome, Never give aspirin to a child.
- Keep aspirin and all medicines in child-proof bottles and out of reach of children.
- If you suspect an aspirin overdose, call the poison control center or emergency room immediately.
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