Is Miralax Safe For Toddlers? Mom Finds Answers

Is Miralax Safe For Toddlers? Mom Finds Answers

After our pediatrician recommended Miralax to treat my 1 year old’s ongoing constipation, I found myself wondering if there were any safety concerns or potential side effects. I trusted our pediatrician, but I wanted more information and wanted to know the following;

  • Is Miralax safe for toddlers long term?
  • How much Miralax for a 1-year-old is recommended?

Long story short, I gave my son Miralax off and on for almost a year starting around 1 year old. This was recommended by his pediatrician. 

And now, I am giving a small dose to my second baby who started struggling with constipation at around 7 months old (also recommended by her pediatrician).

Please note that I am not a healthcare professional. I am sharing what my children’s pediatricians recommended in their cases. It is always best to talk with your own child’s pediatrician. 

My Constipated 12 Month Old

Shortly after starting to eat more solid foods, my son started experiencing constipation. And as he got closer to 1 year old, it started to get worse.

Regularly, he was excessively straining and crying when trying to poop. And when he did poop, it was more often than not small pellet-like hard stools. Alternatively, he would not poop for 2-4 days. And then when he finally did poop, he would have an enormous and painful bowel movement.

After little success with standard constipation home remedies (warm baths, prune juice, peas, pears, lots of fluids, leg bicycles), I started to get worried. I was desperate to figure out how to help a constipated 1-year-old baby. I could hardly stand seeing my child in so much discomfort.

Can You Give Miralax to a 1-Year-Old Safely?

So at my son’s 12-month check-up, I asked our child’s pediatrician what to do about his constipation. First, she said to make sure that he was getting plenty of fruits, veggies, and enough water. Since my toddler was already eating a healthy diet with plenty of these things, she also recommended Miralax. 

Many Pediatricians Recommend Miralax

I was curious if our pediatrician’s recommendation was in line with the general consensus among other healthcare professionals. After all, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has only approved Miralax for adults. Were there potential risks to giving my child Miralax?

As it turns out, NASPGAHN (North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition), says that there is no scientific evidence that polyethylene glycol 3350 (the active ingredient in Miralax) is harmful to young children. The NASPGAHN organization has a membership of 1800 pediatric gastroenterologists, which gives them some notable credibility. 

They explain that PEG 3350  “works by keeping more water in the stool so it is softer and easier to pass. It does not work on the nerves or muscles of the gut and so does not cause any dependence or damage.” 

In regards to a lack of FDA approval for Miralax for kids, NASPGAHN states that many common medications for children under 16 years old do not have approval. This is because of a lack of clinical trials for this age group.

And clinical trials are often lacking due to insufficient funding as well as ethical concerns about experiments on children. So despite the lack of FDA approval, Miralax is still widely recommended by pediatricians. 

How Much Miralax for a 1-Year-Old?

For my 1-year-old son (who is otherwise healthy), our pediatrician recommended a child’s dose of 1 teaspoon of Miralax mixed with 1 ounce of water as a general guideline. 

She said that the dosage could be increased if needed (up to a full cap) and to continue on a daily dose for 2 weeks. After that, she said to decrease that daily dose by 1/2 teaspoon, and then eventually stop. If the constipation started up again, we could return to a daily dose. 

She explained that I would know that we were giving my toddler too much Miralax if he started having watery stools/diarrhea. And that the goal was for him to have 1-2 soft stools every day. 

Plateu Pediatric shares a chart showing images of different types of stools, ranging from constipation to diarrhea. They explain that the goal is for kids to have stools that are the consistency of “soft-serve ice cream or applesauce”.

Is Miralax Safe For Toddlers Long-Term?

Despite our pediatrician’s assurance that Miralax was safe for long term use, I still couldn’t quite believe it. Something about that white powder and pink and purple label just makes a mama wonder… So I did a little research of my own.

The Canadian Family Physician Journal (a peer-reviewed medical journal) cites several clinical studies proving the efficacy and safety of Miralax for both short-term use and long term use for kids. They do note, however, that there are not as many clinical studies on the use of Miralax for young children under the age of 2 years of age. I imagine this has to do with funding and ethical concerns regarding clinical trials and a pediatric population as noted above. The studies that there are though, indicate Miralax is safe for infants and toddlers. 

Also in line with our pediatrician’s statement about the safety of long-term use of Miralax, Forest Hills Pediatrics and Parents state that babies can continue to take Miralax for several months if needed. NASPGHAN backs this up, explaining that there have been several studies showing that Miralax can safely be given to children for “several weeks to several months”.

Ongoing Management of Toddler Constipation with Miralax

Once my toddler started on Miralax at 1 year old, his situation improved dramatically and he was having a healthy bowel movement every day. He seemed so much happier! His stools became softer and usually painless to pass and he started eating more too. He was also no longer going for days without pooping. 

And now at 2 years old, my toddler is only occasionally taking a 1/2 teaspoon dose of Miralax as needed. Most days, we don’t need it. As a side note, we have been relying on Miralax less and less since giving him this Banana Chia Seed Pudding regularly.

Other dietary changes we have made include giving my toddler Papaya on a regular basis and this pumpkin yogurt parfait to keep things moving along.

From 1 to nearly 2 years of age though, my toddler was taking Miralax pretty consistently. Depending on how his stools were looking, we were giving him 1-2 teaspoons a day. I checked in with his pediatricians at all of his wellness appointments about this, and they all continued to assure me this was just fine. And they recommended to continue using Miralax daily if needed. 

A Note on Potty Training and Constipation: Our pediatrician also explained that another reason to manage constipation (aside from the obvious) is that it can cause issues when it comes to potty training.

Oftentimes, when toddlers are first learning to use the potty, a common problem is that they will try to hold their poop in (mine certainly did). You can read more about this in my post on How to Potty Train a Toddler. So if constipation is already an issue, and then a child is holding their poop even longer when potty training, this can be a problem.

Controversy Over The Use of Miralax For Kids

So while the general consensus among professionals seems to be that Miralax is safe for children, it should be noted that there are some parents out there who believe it is a dangerous drug. Ashley Welch of CBS News wrote an article in 2017, stating that a group of parents reported behavioral issues and psychiatric problems in their children after taking Miralax. 

Welch also references a Facebook group called “Parents Against Miralax”. I checked out this Facebook group online and was surprised to see that it currently has 44.2K members. It is a private group, and to join you must answer some questions and agree to the rules. One of these rules is, “Zero tolerance of the use of Miralax”.

Another group rule states that you are encouraged to report to the FDA any suspected injury to your child caused by Miralax. The problem I see with this is that there could be so many variables and causes of behaviors and conditions in children. Without scientific clinical studies, there is not a good way to control for all the possible variables that could account for behavioral changes or neuropsychiatric problems.

Final Thoughts: Is Miralax Safe for Toddlers

Based on conversations with my child’s pediatrician in addition to doing some of my own digging, I do not feel that Miralax is a dangerous drug and I feel comfortable giving it to my toddler as needed. He has not experienced any adverse side effects from it as far as we know, and he is so much happier when he is not passing painful hard stools. And as I stated earlier, I don’t know how we would have dealt with my toddler’s constipation without it.

And while I continue to experiment with dietary changes and alternative treatments to Miralax for my toddler, I am glad that there is Miralax available to deal with any occasional constipation that could lead to more severe constipation!

Please say hi and share any experiences you have had using Miralax with your child in the comments below!

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