Last year the FDA recommended children’s cough and cold medicines not be given to children under 2 because it posed significant health risks. All cough and cold medications with dosage for the under 2 category were recalled. Additionally last year an outside panel of FDA experts said these medicines should not be given to children under 6. However, at the time no action was taken to further restrict product labeling.
Now doctors are expressing their concern and urging the FDA to reconsider and further limit companies from providing cough and cold medicines for the under 6 age group.
Over the past few years, stories have hit the mainstream about infants and young children having serious complications with OTC cough and cold medicines. A few have resulted in death. Also, many of these parents were following instructions from their pediatricians. Granted some administered improper dosages, but not all did, which raises concern.
Not surprisingly, the drug industry is maintaining the cough and cold medicines are safe for children over the age of 2. (I am sure they don’t want to lose anymore money, even at the expense of our children’s health.)
More and more doctors are advising against the use of OTC cough and cold medicines. And let’s be honest, we all know there is no cure for the common cold anyway. These doctors are pressuring the FDA to reevaluate and raise the age limit for which they can provide dosing instructions on their packaging.
Parents however do hate to see their child miserable with a cold and unable to sleep due to a cough. There are some safe and natural things you can do to make your child more comfortable, without the use of OTC medication. This is what I have done in the past – this includes for myself as well! (Disclaimer: I am not doling out medical advice. I am not a doctor.)
1. Use a humidifier – the moist air will your child breathe easier and keep him from coughing as much.
2. Put baby Vicks on his feet and cover with socks – sounds odd, but it works let me tell you!
3. Keep your child well-hydrated. Water is best.
4. It may help to put a little lotion on his face, especially the nose area, to keep it from getting dry and cracked.
5. If your child is old enough, they can sleep on an extra pillow, if not, place a rolled up towel or a pillow under the mattress to help elevate their head and allow the nose to drain so they can breathe easier.
6. I have also used some of Hyland’s products, like the C-plus cold tablets and Honey Cough Syrup. (Remember NEVER give honey to a child under the age of 1).
7. NEVER, EVER give your child a cold medicine made for adults.
8. If you do feel your child needs medication, ALWAYS call your pediatrician prior to administering any OTC medications. They can ensure you can safely give a medicine to your child and confirm the correct dosage amount for your child’s age and size.
9. And certainly, and most importantly, call the pediatrician and speak to the nurse or make an appointment if you feel this is more than the sniffles or you need reassurance.