What Are the Risks and Benefits Of Giving An Infant Benadryl?

Cough and cold medicine containing an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (found in Benadryl), chlorpheniramine, or brompheniramine should not be prescribed for children under two years old.

Besides, people who administer Benadryl to young children should not alter the dosages intended for older children. In addition to the risks of giving Benadryl to young children, according to KidsRush.com, this drug may put your child to sleep. (¹)

Benadryl: What Is It?

In addition to reducing itchiness, hives, common cold, and cough as well as facilitating sleep, Benadryl is an antihistamine with a sedative effect intended to treat allergies. Nevertheless, it often lacks the ability to relieve cough and cold.

Benadryl is available in a variety of formulations, including formulations for children and adults. The pharmaceutical can be found in the form of tablets, creams, chewable, and liquid.

Among the ingredients in these allergy medications are Carboxymethylcellulose, Benzoate, Citric acid, Glycerine, Sorbitol, Saccharin sodium, sweeteners, and flavors.

Why is the drug in a pediatric preparation despite being made for allergy treatment and also used for treating infants for allergies?

Is Benadryl dangerous for infants?

Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital say that Benadryl can have the opposite effect, causing the baby to be hyperactive, and thus become irritable and cranky.

Benadryl also has the following adverse effects in infants:

  • irregular heart rate
  • dry mouth
  • vomiting
  • lower respiratory rate
  • tummy pain
  • seizures

Benadryl anti-itching cream clearly indicates that it should not be used on children under two unless directed by a doctor because no studies have been completed on the effects. Also, the recommended dosage of Benadryl for infants is not standard. (²)

Can you give Benadryl to your baby to help him sleep?

Many parents use over-the-counter medications while traveling to make their babies drowsy. Your infant may be used a few drops of the medication to feel tired. However, this practice should never be encouraged.


Make sure your baby is used to these lengthy journeys, carry some healthy snacks throughout the journey, and bring along his favorite toy or book. Also, ensure that you take frequent breaks all the way through the journey.

Related: How to entertain children on the plane

Sleep training and bedtime routines can help to set a healthy background for your child. However, babysitters and daycare centers should not give babies Benadryl to put them to sleep. The risks are not worth the few hours of sleep. In this scenario, we recommend you to read our article Sleep Disorders in Children: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.

Buying over-the-counter medication for a baby under age nine months without consulting your pediatrician may be harmful. If your child is sick with a virus or allergy, home remedies are a good choice, but only after consulting your doctor.

Do you have any tips or opinions regarding allergies in babies? I would appreciate hearing them in the comments section.