Allergy Medicine for Toddlers

If your toddler is suffering from allergies, you most likely want to find an allergy medicine for toddlers that is both effective and safe. Just going into the pharmacy with no knowledge of how they work isn’t a good idea and there are too many medicines to choose from. One may relieve coughs while others relieve rashes. This article will help break down some of the medicines that may be safe to use with your pediatrician’s supervision.

Symptoms of Toddler Allergies

Allergic reactions are actually the body fighting something off that otherwise wouldn’t make someone uncomfortable or sick. When a pollen or food gets into the body and it isn’t supposed to be there, the body sends out something called "histamine" that can cause symptoms like: stuffy nose, rash, cough, plugged ears and even stomach issues. Histamine can also trigger the body to produce excess mucus that can lead to bacterial infections if left untreated.

When toddlers have allergies on a daily basis, this can lead to more ear infections, throat infections and even asthma. Treating allergies before problems start can help your toddler feel better and avoid bacterial infections that require antibiotics. Before using allergy medicine for toddlers, you need to talk to your pediatrician about them. Allergy medicines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity in children, so it is important to understand how they work.

Recommended Allergy Medicine for Toddlers

This list includes some over-the-counter and prescription allergy medicine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for use in toddlers with a doctor’s supervision:

1. Corticosteroids, Nasal

These help reduce the body’s response to allergens and can reduce inflammation caused by allergies.

  • Dosage: one spray in each nostril once daily.
  • Side effects: burning in the nose, yeast overgrowth, headache and sore throat. Some kids may experience nosebleeds.

2. Antihistamines

These medications block the release and the effects of histamine that the body releases in response to allergens. Stopping the action of histamines can head off symptoms of allergies and relieve them quickly.

  • Dosages: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)—1mg/kg.

Loratidine (Claritin)—for children aged 2 to 5 years, 5 mg once a day.

Cetrizine (Zyrtec)—for children aged 2 to 6 years, 2.5 to 5 mg once daily.

  • Side effects: drowsiness, hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea and dry mouth.

3. Decongestants

Decongestants don’t actually treat allergy itself. They work by decreasing inflammation caused by allergens to help open breathing passages.

  • Dosages: Sudafed—(Never use in children under the age of 4) for children over 4 years, 1mg/kg every six hours.

Nasal Decongestant (Little Noses)—for children from 2 to 6 years old, 2 drops in each nostril every four hours.

  • Side effects: dizziness, difficulty sleeping, headache, dry mouth and upset stomach.

4. Leukotriene Receptor Agonists

These block leukotriene from getting into the cells and causing symptoms of allergies. They can be used in toddlers aged 12 months and older. They aren’t steroid and don’t contain any decongestant drugs.

  • Dosages: Singulair—children aged 12 months and older can take 4 mg granules once daily.
  • Side effects: upper respiratory infections, sore throats, headaches and ear infections.

Precautions for Allergy Medicines for Toddlers

Allergy medicine for toddlers needs to be used with extreme caution and only under the advice of your pediatrician. Toddlers with certain medical conditions should never use decongestants containing stimulant medications, including:

  • Heart defects or heart disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach conditions
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary tract issues

If your child has any of the above health conditions, it is very important to confirm that anything you use is safe for his or her condition.

Antihistamine medications and decongestants can have the following side effects that you need to pay attention to:








Blurry vision


Confused thinking


Stuffy nose


Change in appetite

Dry mouth



Sore throat

If any of the above side effects occur, discontinue use of the medicine immediately and call for medical help or advice.


Allergy medicine for toddlers usually comes in liquid or chewable tablets that are flavored. Make sure you keep them out of your child’s reach and never call them "candy" to your child. They can easily be mistaken for candy and cause an overdose.

Other Approaches to Relieve Toddler Allergies

Allergies in toddlers can easily be treated by just making a few lifestyle modifications. Keep an eye on your "pollen count" levels listed in your local newspaper or weather channel. Here are some ideas of when pollen counts are high and what they are:

  • Late summer/early fall is the time for ragweed. Ragweed levels tend to be higher in the early morning hours.
  • Spring/early summer is the time when grass pollens are the highest and the counts reach peak in the evening hours.
  • Fall is the season whenmold count is the highest.
  • Windy days with sun are days when the allergy sufferers tend to have the most issues.

When you notice your toddler has the most symptoms, close the windows in your house. It is also helpful to use an air purifier or an air conditioner to help filter out the pollen. The following tricks will help, too:

  • Vacuum your house often. Make sure your vacuum has a dust filter.
  • Mop all wood floors in your home.
  • Buy a mite cover for mattresses and pillows.
  • Wash bedding often with detergent designed to kill dust mites.
  • Wash your pets with a good quality pet shampoo weekly.