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Best Laxatives for Kids

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best laxatives for kids

    Last Updated November 2018

    No parent wants to see their child in pain. But when a baby or a child is constipated, the pain is obvious, and it can get pretty bad. Constipation can change a child’s eating patterns and even interrupt sleep … both for the child and the parent. Fortunately, you can give your child a safe and effective over-the-counter laxative to alleviate occasional constipation.

    At BestReviews, we developed the following guide to help you understand the different types of over-the-counter laxatives for children and how to safely use them. First, though, we must mention that constipation in young children is usually is a simple problem that occurs only occasionally. However, regular constipation that cannot be alleviated with a laxative could signify a more serious problem.

    Pay attention to your child’s bowel habits and problems to make sure you don’t miss something significant, and contact a pediatrician if you’re concerned about anything related to your child’s health.

    There are a few laxatives that are safe for babies, but most products aren’t appropriate for children less than two years old unless approved by a doctor.

    When a child is constipated

    If you see your child struggling pass stool, it’s possible the he is constipated. When a child suffering from constipation is finally able to pass stool, it may be large and hard or even pellet-like. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published guidelines to help parents figure out if a child is constipated and needs medication.

    Babies under six months

    The average baby under six months has two to three bowel movements per day. But kids are all a little different, and having one to five stools per day is possible and normal. Formula-fed babies will have fewer bowel movements than breast-fed babies.

    Babies between six and 12 months

    Slightly older babies have an average of two bowel movements per day. But again, one to five stools per day is possible and normal.

    Toddlers one to three years old

    A toddler may have between one and three bowel movements per day. Some young children will have bowel movements as infrequently as every other day for a week or two without having problems.

    Children over age three

    One bowel movement per day is common for preschool-aged kids, but some kids will have two. Others will have a bowel movement every other day without any problems.

    Gentle and safe

    You may not feel comfortable giving your baby a laxative, and in fact, many laxatives are not appropriate for babies. But Mommy’s Bliss Baby Constipation Ease is designed for babies. It’s free of harsh chemicals, instead using ingredients such as prune juice concentrate and organic fennel to help your little one feel better.

    Types of kids’ laxatives

    When shopping for a laxative for your child, you will likely find two options for method of delivery. The right method depends on the age of the child and how quickly you want him to feel relief.

    Oral

    Oral laxatives come in liquid and tablet form. These products take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to work. They aren’t designed for immediate alleviation of constipation pain.

    • Liquid: You may be able to mix a liquid laxative with another drink, like fruit juice, to make it more palatable for your child.

    • Tablets: Most kids’ laxative tablets are chewable. Children at least two or three years old who can easily chew food will have good results with tablets. Magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, or magnesium oxide often constitute the working ingredients in laxative tablets.
       

    Rectal

    A rectal laxative comes in the form of a suppository or enema. Relief usually comes anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours after it is administered.

    • Enema: An enema for a child looks similar to an enema for an adult, but the dose is smaller. Usually consisting of saline solution, it works very fast. Unless otherwise recommended, children less than two years of age should not receive enemas.

    • Suppository: A laxative suppository for children usually contains glycerin. Younger children often have success with suppositories. Some products come with an application tool for convenience.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    In addition to the inability to pass stool, bloating and stomach pain are common two signs of constipation.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most kids’ laxative products should not be taken for more than five to seven days in a row. If the problem persists beyond this timeframe, consult your child’s physician.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    A constipated child may appear to have diarrhea when a bowel movement finally occurs. This makes the diagnosis difficult.

    Safety concerns

    If you’re concerned about giving your child a laxative, you’re not alone. Administering any type of medication to someone so young can be nerve-wracking for parents.

    But as long as you follow the directions of your pediatrician and you carefully adhere to the dosage instructions on the package you can feel comfortable administering this medication.

    As with any medication, long-term laxative use could be dangerous. Alleviating the symptoms of constipation could actually mask a larger medical problem. If you’re concerned, it’s best to contact a doctor.

    EXPERT TIP

    Do you have a rough idea how many bowel movements your child normally has per day? This information can help make it easier to diagnose constipation if it occurs.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    If your child takes a prescription medication of any kind, check with your doctor before administering an over-the-counter laxative to avoid unwanted drug interactions.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Some children suffering from constipation have blood in their stool. The blood could signify a more serious problem, so contact your pediatrician if this occurs.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Laxatives for kids: prices

    You can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars to about $20 for a kids’ laxative. Price depends, in large part, on the type of product you’re buying.

    A simple glycerine suppository won’t cost much at all, but an all-natural laxative that has been specially formulated without any harsh ingredients could cost $10 or more.

    When shopping for a kids’ laxative, you may also find that certain products cost a little more because they’re designed specifically for kids. For example, a drinkable laxative that tastes like soda pop or a chewable tablet that’s flavored like bubble gum or fruit may cost several dollars more than the “adult” equivalent of a plain-tasting liquid laxative or capsule.

    Fast-working laxative

    When your child needs fast constipation relief, Fleet Pedia-Lax suppositories can do the job. The glycerin in these suppositories will usually cause a bowel movement within an hour, allowing your child to feel better fast. Aimed at children between ages two and five, it’s a gentle, effective solution for occasional constipation.

    Constipation prevention

    If your child suffers constipation regularly, you can try a few other things to alleviate the problem.

    • Add extra fiber to her diet. Popcorn, high-fiber cereal, fruits, and vegetables can help with regularity.

    • Encourage water consumption. As you increase fiber in your child’s diet, you also need to increase water intake. More liquid helps the stool become softer and easier to pass.

    • Remind the child to use the toilet regularly. Some kids develop constipation because they’re “holding” their bowels when they have the urge to go. Often, this occurs because they don’t want to stop playing. Encourage your child to use the toilet at least two or three times every day, preferably at the same times each day.
    An over-the-counter laxative may alleviate your child’s constipation within a few minutes or over a couple of days. However, a more severe bout of constipation may require the help of a medical professional.

    FAQ

    Q. Is constipation a serious medical problem?

    A. Nearly all children suffer from constipation at least once. Most of the time, constipation is a temporary problem that you can alleviate with a laxative. However, it is sometimes the sign of a more serious health condition. If your child has a lingering constipation for a few days, it’s worth asking the pediatrician about it.

    Q. Do I have to give my child laxatives to help with constipation?

    A. Some people try to relieve constipation through dietary changes rather than with laxatives. Others change the child’s diet and provide laxatives as needed. Both approaches can work well, but all kids are different. You may find a combination that works perfectly for one child but not another.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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