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Treating Pain in Babies and Children

We have determined that many if not most cases of autism are caused by exposure of susceptible babies and children to acetaminophen. What does this mean for parents and guardians who are looking after a child in pain? First, we believe it’s important to have a plan of action that’s based on scientific evidence. Having a plan in place helps to avoid last minute decisions based on emotions that can lead to regret.


The question is, what evidence is available to help make a plan of action?


First, acetaminophen doesn’t work well for certain types of pain involving physical damage to nerves including circumcision [1] and other painful procedures in newborns [2]. Acetaminophen is also not recommended for vaccination [3].


Second, we now know that acetaminophen was never proven save for babies and children. We also know that literally hundreds of published papers in the medical literature say that acetaminophen is safe for babies and children…. But, two years ago, working at Duke University, we published a proof showing that this commonly held belief is based 100% on false assumptions.  Over twenty lines of evidence and dozens of studies now tell us that acetaminophen is NOT safe for a baby’s brain.


Third, based on available evidence, exposure to acetaminophen at the time of birth is apparently very risky [4]. This exposure includes pregnant mother’s taking the drug just prior to giving birth*, and giving the drug to babies shortly after birth for circumcision or vaccination. Because of this, it is likely that exposure to acetaminophen under conditions in which is does little or no long-term good is responsible for a significant number of cases of autism.


Fourth, many individuals have considered alternatives to acetaminophen for pain management, including massage, turmeric, and cuddling. These and other alternatives haven’t been tested extensively, in large part, because most people don’t yet know that acetaminophen is not safe. In other words, most people still do not realize that we need a safe alternative, so not enough effort has been put into finding one.


We cannot provide medical advice. However, for your consideration, our website provides example plans devised by mothers for treating their children’s pain. It also provides links to alternative methods of treating pain.


*After the umbilical cord is cut at the time of birth, the baby must process whatever acetaminophen remains in his or her tiny body [4]. The baby’s liver is not nearly as efficient as the mother’s liver when it comes to processing drugs [5].



1.         Howard CR, Howard FM, Weitzman ML. Acetaminophen analgesia in neonatal circumcision: the effect on pain. Pediatrics. Apr 1994;93(4):641-6.

2.         Ohlsson A, Shah PS. Paracetamol (acetaminophen) for prevention or treatment of pain in newborns. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Jan 27 2020;1(1):Cd011219. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011219.pub4

3.         WHO. Reducing pain at the time of vaccination: WHO position paper, September 2015-Recommendations. Vaccine. Jul 12 2016;34(32):3629-30. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.11.005

4.         Parker W, Anderson LG, Jones JP, et al. The Dangers of Acetaminophen for Neurodevelopment Outweigh Scant Evidence for Long-Term Benefits. Children. 2024;11(1):44.

5.         Zhao L, Jones J, Anderson L, et al. Acetaminophen causes neurodevelopmental injury in susceptible babies and children: no valid rationale for controversy. Clinical and experimental pediatrics. Jun 14 2023;doi:10.3345/cep.2022.01319


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