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What is the best laxative for children?

Constipation can happen to any child. It is hard for parents to see their child uncomfortable from the pain and pressure that constipation causes. Children’s laxatives are a safe and effective way to bring relief and get your child feeling better.

There are a variety of laxative forms and ingredients to choose from. The best laxatives for children are gentle on the digestive system and easy to take. For its proven record of effectiveness with natural ingredients, the best laxative for children is Fletcher’s Laxative for Kids.

What to know before you buy a laxative for children

What are the symptoms of constipation in children?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of constipation in children are:

  • Hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass
  • Less than three bowel movements in a week
  • Pain while having a bowel movement or generalized stomach pain
  • Traces of stool in your child’s underwear
  • Blood on the surface of the stool

What are the forms of laxatives for children?

There are two forms of laxatives for children:

  • Oral laxatives are swallowed and work through the digestive system. They can take a few hours to several days to bring relief.
    • Liquid laxatives are swallowed straight or mixed with a drink your child enjoys to make it easier to take.
    • Chewable tablets are available for children old enough to chew food. The ingredients in the tablets are magnesium hydroxide, magnesium oxide or sodium phosphate.
  •  Rectal laxatives are inserted into the rectum and usually bring about relief in a few minutes to a few hours.
    • Suppositories contain glycerin and often come with an applicator for easy insertion.
    • Enemas contain a saline solution that works quickly. These are not usually used with children under 2 years old.

Are there ways to prevent constipation in children?

The Mayo Clinic has several suggestions for preventing constipation in your child:

  • Encouraging high-fiber foods from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain foods can soften your child’s stool.
  • Staying hydrated increases the body’s water content available for stool formation.
  • Remind your child to go to the bathroom when they feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Holding stool in is one of the leading causes of constipation.
  • Encourage your child to be physically active.
  • Make sure any medications your child takes don’t cause constipation as a side effect.

What to look for in a laxative for children

Natural ingredients

Most children’s laxatives are made from natural plant material like senna or prunes. Harsher synthetic medicines used in adult laxatives are too strong for children. Manufacturers work with gentler formulas that children can use safely when the directions are followed correctly.


Like any medication or supplement, getting your child to swallow it is part of the challenge. Many children’s laxatives have a fruit flavor or taste like soda pop. Remember that some of these flavors add a small amount of sugar to the laxative.

Free of allergens

Look for laxatives free of gluten, soy and other allergens common to children. This will ensure the laxative doesn’t deliver any undesirable side effects. 

Low sugar content

Most children’s laxatives have low sugar content, but the ones with sweet flavors may include added sugar that for some parents may be unwanted.

How much you can expect to spend on a laxative for children

Glycerin suppositories cost between $3-$5 per dose. Liquid laxatives are priced between $1.50-$6 per fluid ounce (more expensive liquid laxatives have been formulated with flavors that appeal to children). Chewable tablets cost between 20 to 60 cents per dose, with chewable gummies priced at the higher end of this range. 

Laxative for children FAQ

Is constipation normal in children?

A. Everyone, including children, has an occasional bout of constipation. If your child’s constipation returns frequently or seems severe, consult your health care provider for guidance.   

Can babies be given laxatives?

A. Most laxatives are intended for children older than 2 years old. If you have concerns about a child under 2 years old, seek the advice of your health care provider.

What if my child accidentally takes extra laxatives?

A. In the United States, you should contact the national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222. They will provide instructions based on which type of laxative was taken in excess. They are available 24/7, and you can contact them even if it is not an emergency.

What is the best laxative for children to buy?

Top laxative for children

Best Fletcher’s Laxative for Kids

Fletcher’s Laxative for Kids

What you need to know: From a trusted name, this laxative is gentle on children’s digestive systems while providing the promised results.

What you’ll love: Made from natural plant-based ingredients, this laxative works gently on both children and adults. It has a distinctive root beer flavor that makes it easy to take. It is American-made and free of alcohol.

What you should consider: The laxative contains some artificial ingredients.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top laxative for children for the money

Best Prunelax Ciruelax Natural Laxative

Prunelax Ciruelax Natural Laxative

What you need to know: This laxative is effective for children as young as 2 years old and helps promote bowel regularity.

What you’ll love: Made from dried prunes and senna extract, this laxative provides gentle overnight relief. It has a great taste and is easy to swallow. It is gluten free and low in sugar.

What you should consider: It can take up to 12 hours to achieve the desired effect.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Pedia-Lax Liquid Glycerin Suppositories

Pedia-Lax Liquid Glycerin Suppositories

What you need to know: These suppositories provide fast relief and work gently in an hour or less.

What you’ll love: These suppositories are recommended by pediatricians for children with painful constipation that need instant relief. It won’t upset the digestive system. They come in an easy-to-use lubricated form. The solution is sodium-free.

What you should consider: Like all suppositories, they must be inserted rectally.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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