Benadryl, known generically as diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine medication approved for use in most children, says pediatrician William Sears on his website AskDrSears.com. Benadryl is used to treat swelling, itching, runny nose, rash and sneezing that can accompany an allergic reaction. Benadryl causes drowsiness and can cause allergic reactions in some children, and Dr. Sears does not suggest giving Benadryl to children under the age of 1. Benadryl might help reduce your child's allergy symptoms and reduce discomfort.
Ask your child's pediatrician if Benadryl is appropriate for your child's particular allergy or illness, says Beth M. Iovinelli, RN, BSN, IBCLC, in the article "Can I Give My Child Benadryl on Long Plane or Car Rides?" on BabyZone.com. In some cases, Benadryl might not be the most effective treatment option for your child. If your child's pediatrician approves, continue with the treatment.
Give your child liquid Benadryl if she weighs between 17 and 21 pounds, says Dr. Sears. Do not give your child Benadryl if she weighs less than 17 pounds. Give your child liquid or chewable Benadryl if she is between 21 and 42 pounds, and tablet Benadryl if she is over 42 pounds, says Dr. Sears.
Give your child 0.5 mg of Benadryl per pound as an initial dose as needed for allergy symptoms or a rash. Repeat this dose every four to six hours as necessary.
Observe your child to see how he reacts to the dose. Your child might experience extreme drowsiness or might become more hyper. Check for any side effects and report them to your child's pediatrician before giving her another dose.
Resist the urge to give your child Benadryl so that he will sleep on a plane or a car trip, says pediatrician Lane France in the article "Is it Safe to Sedate My Baby for Travel?" on BabyCenter.com. Benadryl should be used only to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction or a cold.