Potassium Iodide Dosing Information For Children

Home Preparation Procedure for Emergency Administration of Potassium Iodide Tablets to Infants and Small Children


In the event of accidental release (or nuclear explosion, terrorist nuclear weapon) of radioactive iodine into the atmosphere, potassium iodide (KI) is recommended for use as an aid to other emergency measures, such as evacuation and food control measures. When used correctly, potassium iodide can prevent or reduce the amount of radioactive iodine taken up by the thyroid gland. The government stockpiles potassium iodide for emergency uses, such as in the event of an unexpected release of radioactive iodide.

Potassium iodide (KI) is stockpiled as tablets because tablets are easier to store; however, infants and small children cannot swallow tablets. In an emergency such as an unexpected release of radioactive iodine, the potassium iodide tablets may need to be given to infants and children by their parents or caregivers. Since potassium iodide dissolved in water may be too salty to drink, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is providing parents or caregivers with instructions on how to mix the potassium iodide tablets with a food or a drink to disguise the taste so infants and small children will take the medicine in an emergency. To see what worked best to disguise the taste of potassium iodide, FDA asked adults to taste the following six mixtures of potassium iodide and drinks.

    • Water
    • Low fat white milk
    • Low fat chocolate milk
    • Orange juice
    • Flat Soda (For example, cola)
    • Raspberry syrup

The mixture of potassium iodide with raspberry syrup disguises the taste of potassium iodide best. The mixtures of potassium iodide with low fat chocolate milk, orange juice, and flat soda (for example, cola) generally have an acceptable taste. Low fat white milk and water did not hide the salty taste of potassium iodide.


    • Potassium iodide (KI) 130 mg tablet
    • Metal teaspoon
    • Small bowl
    • One of the drinks from the list above or infant formula.


1. Grinding the potassium iodide tablet into powder

    • Put one 130mg potassium iodide tablet into a small bowl and grind it into a fine powder using the back of the metal teaspoon against the inside of the bowl. The powder should not have any large pieces.

2. Mixing potassium iodide powder into a drink

    • Add four teaspoonfuls of water to the potassium iodide powder in the small bowl. Use a spoon to mix them together until the potassium iodide powder is dissolved in the water.

3. Mix drink of choice with potassium iodide powder and water solution

    • Add four teaspoonfuls of drink to the potassium iodide powder and water mixture described in Step 2.

The amount of potassium iodide in the drink is 16.25 mg per teaspoon. The number of teaspoonfuls of the drink to give your child depends on your child's age. There is a chart at the end of these directions to tell you how much to give your child.

The potassium iodide in any of the six drinks listed above and infant formulas will keep for up to seven days in the refrigerator. FDA recommends that the potassium iodide drink mixtures be prepared weekly; unused portions should be discarded.


FDA recommends doses for potassium iodide based on age, predicted thyroid exposure to radioiodines, and -for women -- whether the woman is pregnant or nursing (see Table 1). Adults over 18 years of age and pregnant or lactating women should take the potassium iodide 130-mg tablet. Infants, children, and adolescents through 18 years of age should take potassium iodide in a drink prepared according to the procedure described above. Table 2 shows how many teaspoonfuls of potassium iodide mixture to give to an adolescent, child, or infant. The dose of potassium iodide should be taken once a day until a risk of significant exposure to radioiodines no longer exists.

Table 1. Threshold thyroid radioactivity exposures and the recommended dose of Potassium iodide (KI) for different groups1.


If you are:

And your predicted Thyroid Exposure is:

Then you should take:


Number of

130 mg.tablets

An adult over the age of 40


Equal to or greater than 500 centi-grays



a 130 mg dose of potassium Iodide (KI)









An adult between the ages of  18 and 40

Equal to or greater than 10 cGy


A pregnant or lactating woman

Equal to or greater than 5cGy














1 FDA, Guidance: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies, December 2001.

Table 2. Recommended doses of KI for adolescents, children, and infants with predicted thyroid radioactivity exposures equal to or greater than 5 cGy1, using 130 mg tablet preparations.

If your child is:


Give your child this amount of Potassium Iodide (KI) *

Which is


An adolescent between 12 and 18 years old**


4 teaspoonfuls

(NOT tablespoonfuls)

65 mg of potassium iodide (KI)


Between 4 and 12 years old


4 teaspoonfuls

(NOT tablespoonfuls)

65 mg of potassium iodide (KI)


Over 1 month through 3 years


2 teaspoonfuls

(NOT tablespoonfuls)

32.5 mg of potassium      iodide (KI)

An infant from birth through 1 month


1 teaspoonful

(NOT a tablespoonful)

16.25 mg of potassium iodide (KI)


* This is the amount to give your child for one dose. You should give your child one dose each day.

** Adolescents approaching adult size [equal to or greater than 154 pounds (70 kg)] should receive the full adult dose (130 mg tablet or 8 teaspoonfuls of KI mixture).

1 FDA, Guidance: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies, December 2001.original table above.

 To obtain potassium iodate pills you may contact:

     Survival Gear Source at 1-877-231-1925 or via Internet http://www.survivalgearsource.com

FDA/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Last Updated: October 22, 2002

Recommended Dosage for Radiological Emergencies involving radioactive iodine


 This chart shows the dosage difference between Potassium Iodide (KI) and Potassium Iodate (KIO3)


KI in mg


Over 12 years old




3-12 years old




1-36 months old




<1 month old





Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents, World Health Organization,

Copyright © 2008-2019
Powered by ClaimTheWeb Cart Ecommerce Software