Benadryl for Baby Sleep


What is Benadryl?

Is it okay to use Benadryl for baby sleep problems?

Does Benadryl have any side effects that you should know about?

Benadryl is an over-the-counter allergy medication that is usually given to adults and older kids to help with coughing, congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and other allergy symptoms. The name Benadryl is a brand name for a medication that is called diphenhydramine, and it comes under other brand names as well. Benadryl is simply the most widely recognized name for this medicine.

Some parents have been known to use Benadryl to try to help their babies go to sleep at night. If you’ve ever heard of someone doing this and thought it sounded a little suspicious, you’re not alone—the argument is a common one between parents who do this and parents who do not.

Benadryl is a known sedative, and some adults take it when they need to fall asleep fast. However, it also has some dangerous side effects and can lead to serious problems in both adults and kids when it’s given too much or in too high of a dose. Some people can’t tolerate it at all.

In the article below, we’ll discuss more in-depth about the relationship between Benadryl and babies. Read through this information to figure out where you stand on this important issue.

Benadryl and Babies

In this section, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about whether or not it’s really okay to use Benadryl for babies or toddlers to help them sleep. If you’ve seen this argument on the Internet or heard it in parenting groups, you can use the information outlined below to form your own opinion about this matter.

If any information listed here seems confusing to you, or if you want to dive deeper on the topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s pediatrician for assistance. The pediatrician can give you recommendations based on your individual baby’s needs.

1. Is it common to use Benadryl for kids sleep issues?

Many parents tend to use Benadryl to help children go to sleep, and it’s not uncommon to come across parents online recommended this trend. However, as more and more parents are starting to realize the dangers of using Benadryl for babies, the practice is becoming much less common.

2. Is it dangerous to do this?

  • Yes. Benadryl is not only an allergy medication, but is also a sedative. When given to young children and babies, Benadryl can cause the respiratory system to fail and can also cause the heart rate to slow to a dangerous level.
  • Many infant deaths can be attributed to the use of Benadryl, even when given in small doses. It is extremely important to remember that this medication is not intended for babies or young toddlers and should never be given to children this young. Doing so can be extremely dangerous and has even been ruled as homicides in some instances of infant death.

3. What do experts say?

  • Poison Control, the Food & Drug Administration, and the Benadryl dosing information itself all recommend never giving this medication to babies.
  • The Food & Drug Administration specifies that children under the age of 2 should never take medication that contains antihistamines or cough medicine.
  • Children ages 2 and older should still only be given Benadryl if directed by the doctor or pediatrician, as it can still be dangerous in higher quantities.

4. What do other parents say?

Some parents may swear by the use of this medicine for babies—for its intended allergy-related purposes as well as its use as a sleep aid—but this is simply not safe. Even if other parents recommend using Benadryl to help a baby sleep, you should never listen to this advice. It is extremely dangerous and could be deadly.

5. Can the improper use of Benadryl harm a baby?

  • Absolutely. In cases where infants have been given too much Benadryl over the recommended dose for their weight, many cases of infant death, coma, and seizure have occurred. Even just a little bit too much Benadryl can be fatal to babies, and this is why it is recommended not to give them this medication at all.
  • Children ages 2 to 12 should be dosed based on their weight rather than their age. You should always speak to your child’s pediatrician for more information about how much medicine to give your little one, even when they are within the safe age range for Benadryl.

6. Can you give any other medications besides Benadryl to help baby sleep?

  • No. There are no over-the-counter medications that you should ever give to babies to help them sleep. Children under the age of 2 should not be given any medication without the express direction of a doctor or pediatrician.
  • If your baby is having trouble sleeping, you may want to try other methods instead. For example, try playing soft, gentle music designed to help babies sleep better. You might also want to use a white noise machine that can drown out other sounds in the household and help babies get to sleep more easily. Non-medication options are the best.

7. Should you use any over-the-counter medications on babies?

  • Not usually. Over-the-counter medications aren’t necessarily safer just because they are not prescription-strength, and it’s important to always speak to your child’s pediatrician before using any medicine for your baby.
  • Of course, there are some over-the-counter medications made specifically for babies and toddlers, and these are usually safe to give when following the packaging directions. Even so, if your baby is less than 2 years of age, you should speak to a medical professional before dosing your child with any medicine.


As you can see, there is a lot to learn about Benadryl and babies. To boil it all down simply, however, you should never give your baby Benadryl for any reason if your child is under the age of 2. And if your child is anywhere from 2 to 12 years of age, you should work with a medical professional to make sure you’re giving the correct dosage.

Benadryl is not necessarily safe just because you can buy it in almost any store. There are several side effects that can cause harm to children and even to some adults when using this medication, and you should always tread carefully when using this product for a child of any age.

Additionally, if your child happens to be taking any other medication—whether that is short-term or long-term—the Benadryl may interact badly with the other medicine. This is yet another reason why you should only medicate children with a doctor’s orders, even when using store-bought medicines.

Remember that this information is only intended to be a guide. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s health, wellbeing, sleeping habits, or medications, always speak to your child’s doctor or pediatrician for the best information. Your pediatrician will be able to give you the best and most accurate information about your specific child and will also talk you through any problems you might have related to this topic.

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