Is Miralax Safe For Toddlers?
After our pediatrician recommended Miralax to treat my 1 year old’s ongoing constipation, I found myself wondering, is Miralax safe for toddlers? I trust our pediatrician, but I wanted more information. Specifically, how long can a toddler be on Miralax and at what dosage?
My Constipated 1 Year 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. On a regular basis, he was excessively straining and crying when trying to poop. And when he did poop, it was more often than not dry, hard and in small amounts. Or alternatively, he would not poop for 2-4 days. And then when he finally would poop, he would have an enormous and painful bowel movement.
After little success with the standard approaches (warm baths, prunes, peas, pears, lots of fluids, leg bicycles), I started to get worried. What could we do to help relieve my child’s constipation?
Is Miralax Safe For Toddlers? – Pediatricians Chime In
At my son’s 12 month check-up, I asked our pediatrician what to do about his constipation. First, she said to make sure that he was getting plenty of fruits, veggies and water. Since my toddler was already eating a healthy diet with plenty of these things, she also recommended Miralax.
I was curious if our pediatrician’s recommendation was in line with the general consensus among other healthcare professionals and researchers. After all, the FDA has only approved Miralax for adults. So the question was still in the back of my mind, is Miralax safe for toddlers?
NASPGAHN (North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition), says that there is no scientific evidence that PEG 3350 (the active ingredient in Miralax) is harmful for 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 this is often the case because of insufficient funding as well as ethical concerns regarding certain types of research on children. So despite the lack of FDA approval, Miralax is still widely recommended by pediatricians.
How Much Miralax for Toddlers
Please note that I am not a healthcare professional. I am sharing only what my child’s pediatrician recommended in his case. It is always best to talk with your pediatrician regarding your individual child’s needs.
For my 1 year old son, our pediatrician recommended 1 teaspoon of Miralax mixed with 1 ounce of water. 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 it by 1/2 teaspoon, and then eventually stop. If the constipation started up again, we could return to daily doses.
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 constipated 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 Kids Long-Term?
Despite our pediatricians assurance that Miralax was safe for my toddler to use long term, I still couldn’t quite believe it. Something about that white powder and pink and purple label just makes you have to wonder… So I did a little research of my own.
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”.
Toddler Constipation Relief with Miralax
Once my toddler started on Miralax at 1 year old, his situation improved dramatically. 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 when needed. Most days, we don’t need it. And as a side note, we have been relying on Miralax less and less since giving him this Banana Chia Seed Pudding on a regular basis. Papaya also seems to help keep him regular, in addition to lots of finely chopped salads with fruit.
From 1 to nearly 2 years old 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 because it can cause issues when it comes to potty training. Oftentimes, when toddlers are first learning to use the potty, they will try to hold their poop (mine certainly did). You can read more about this is 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, this can be problematic.
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 disagree. Ashley Welch of CBS News wrote an article in 2017, stating that some parents reported behavioral 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 in order to join you must answer some questions and agree to the rules. One of these rules being, “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 studies, there is not really a good way to control for all the possible variables.
Final Thoughts: Is Miralax Safe for Toddlers
Based on conversations with my son’s pediatrician in addition to doing some of my own research, I feel comfortable giving my toddler Miralax as needed. And as I stated earlier, I really don’t know how we would have dealt with my toddler’s constipation without it.
And while I continue to experiment with natural dietary alternatives to Miralax for my toddler, it is nice to know that the Miralax is still there if he needs it!
Please say hi and share any experiences you have had using Miralax with your child in the comments below! Be well ~