Some parents still missing the message about cough medicines and young children

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November 15, 2013
Cough medicine and young children

Cough and cold medicines are not safe for children younger than age four and in 2007, labels were revised to make this clearer. This week, a study was published that shows visits to the emergency department related to cough and cold medicines have decreased for young children since the labels were changed. But despite this improvement, there are many parents who continue to give cough and cold medicine to their young children.

Even though cough and cold medicines have warning labels that say they are not intended for children under age four, four in ten parents in a recent National Poll on Children’s Health said they had given cough medicine to their children under age four. Parents’ use of cough and cold medicines for young children did not differ by parents’ gender, race/ethnicity, or household income. Read the full report: Parents ignore warning labels, give cough & cold meds to young kids.

Proportion on parents who give cough and cold medicines to children under 4 years old.
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Missing the warning labels and giving cough and cold medicines to children under age four may lead to health issues for young kids. But accidental ingestion of cough and cold medicine is another common reason for emergency department visits. In a 2012 NPCH Report, about two-thirds of adults said they’d support policies requiring medicines to be sold in single-dose packaging to prevent accidental over-dosing.

NPCH Director and Pediatrician Dr. Matt Davis spoke with the New York Times about medicine safety for young kids this week. Read the full article here: Warnings on Children’s Drugs Found to Help Curb Misuse.

Watch this short video with Dr. Davis to learn more about cough and cold remedies for young children:

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