Not something to sneeze at: FDA warns about dangers of cold medicines for young children

When young children get coughs and colds, parents understandably want to do whatever they can to make them feel better. But over-the-counter medications that adults sometimes take to manage cold symptoms may have very serious side effects for young kids. The FDA recently issued a Consumer Update advising parents to skip the cough and cold products when their infants and toddlers get sick.

Instead of using over-the-counter medicines like decongestants and multi-symptom cold products, parents are advised to offer their child lots of rest and fluids so the cold can run its course and to call their child’s doctor if there are more serious symptoms or concerns.  Read the FDA’s Consumer Update here: “Have a Baby or Young Child With a Cold? Most Don't Need Medicines.”

In a 2013 NPCH Report, we asked parents of young kids age 0-3 about their experiences with cough and cold medicines. Despite warning labels that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under age four, 4 in 10 parents reported giving cough medicine or multi-symptom cough and cold medicine to their children under four years old. Read the full report: Parents ignore warning labels, give cough & cold meds to young kids.

Figure 1: Proportion of Parents who Give Cough and Cold Medicines to Children Under 4 Years Old
View full size image | See other infographics about children's health

What do you think?

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