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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Fletcher's Laxative, For Kids
Fletcher's
Laxative, For Kids
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Effective Formula
Bottom Line

This product has been around for a long time and it's a tried and trusted method for digestive relief.

Pros

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.

Cons

While most like the distinctive root beer flavor, it isn't for everyone. Contains some artificial ingredients.

Best Bang for the Buck
Prunelax Ciruelax Natural Laxative
Prunelax
Ciruelax Natural Laxative
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Natural and Gentle
Bottom Line

Nice flavor and gentle formula make this liquid laxative a good choice for kids of a wide age range.

Pros

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.

Cons

May initially take as long as 12 hours to work. Contains some artificial ingredients.

Pedia-Lax Laxative Liquid Glycerin Suppositories for Kids
Pedia-Lax
Laxative Liquid Glycerin Suppositories for Kids
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Fast Relief
Bottom Line

For instant relief that works quickly for your child, try these suppositories.

Pros

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.

Cons

They are suppositories, which means they must be inserted rectally.

Mommy's Bliss Constipation Ease
Mommy's Bliss
Constipation Ease
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

A product that provides a natural laxative effect without chemicals or laxative drugs.

Pros

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.

Cons

Can take up to 12 hours to take effect, and may not relieve major constipation.

Pedialax Saline Laxative tablets
Pedialax
Saline Laxative tablets
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

A laxative designed to work more quickly than others.

Pros

Relief without cramping. Often works when other methods do not. Works within hours. Safe for toddlers. No side effects. Works if used regularly to keep bowels on track.

Cons

The taste of this product could be improved.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best laxatives for kids

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.

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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 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.

Types of kids’ laxatives

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

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

Laxatives for kids: prices

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.

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.
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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.

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