Tylenol, or generic acetaminophen, is often recommended as a safe medication for infants and children. As a physician and parent, I would like to ease the discomfort my child experiences with sore throats, fevers, and the like… but as I began scrutinizing the ingredients of infant and children’s liquid Tylenol and acetaminophen preparations, I became increasingly horrified by the additional ingredients. Butylparabens?! Is McNeil really putting endocrine disruptors in children’s medicine? Why are all the generics following suit? After searching through many pharmacies, and reading the labels on the liquid acetaminophen options, I finally found an alternative to brand name Tylenol that is dye-free and paraben-free, and therefore in my opinion safer:
While still not perfect, I was nonetheless elated to find a source of acetaminophen that did not contain parabens or dyes. Little Remedies contains acetaminophen, plus these inactive ingredients: citric acid, glycerin, natural flavors (?), potassium sorbate, povidone, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium citrate, sucralose, sucrose, xanthan gum. None of these ingredients raises any red flags as investigated for safety by Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Children’s Tylenol on the other hand, has these careless, potentially harmful ingredients:
Butylparaben – has estrogenic effects, can disrupt endocrine system, speculation but not proof of carcinogenicity, listed as a high hazard chemical by EWG.
D&C red no. 33, FD&C blue no. 1 – depending on which formulation, your child will be drinking artificial dyes, associated with behavioral problems and worsening of ADD/ADHD symptoms in some studies.
As a reality check, these ingredients in small doses are probably not a big deal… but I don’t see any need for their inclusion when there are potentially safer alternatives. I generally distrust most of the inactive ingredients included in most big pharma-produced medications, and children’s liquid tylenol is just the most blatant example I’ve encountered in my quest not to “poison” my kid.
I’m glad there is at least one easily-found, liquid acetaminophen preparation for children that does not contain freaking parabens.