Uses natural plant-based ingredients like senna that provide gentle relief. Offers a root beer taste that is appealing for most kids who don't like other flavors. Quite effective, and also suitable for adults.
While most like the distinctive root beer flavor, it isn't for everyone. Contains some artificial ingredients.
Made with natural ingredients like senna and dried plums that are safe yet effective. Great for kids as young as 2 years of age. Most youngsters found the flavor pleasant and didn't hesitate to take it. Helps promote lasting regularity.
May initially take as long as 12 hours to work. Contains some artificial ingredients.
Solves painful constipation very quickly. Works within minutes. Gentle enough to be used on babies. Best used if your child is in pain and needs to have a bowel movement for relief right away. It works and then it is done. No lasting effects.
They are suppositories, which means they must be inserted rectally.
Vegan product. Made with ingredients that are organic and derived from vegetable products. No alcohol or dyes. Gentle enough to be used for babies and young children. Comes in packaging made without phthalates, BPA, or PVCs.
Can take up to 12 hours to take effect, and may not relieve major constipation.
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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.
First, though, we must mention that constipation in young children is usually 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.
If you see your child struggling to pass stool, it’s possible that they are 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.
When shopping for a laxative for your child, you will likely find two options for the method of delivery. The right method depends on the age of the child and how quickly you want him to feel relief.
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.
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.
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.
You can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars to about $20 for a kids’ laxative. The 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.
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.
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.