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Dangers of Giving Cold Medicine to Toddlers — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 18, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Dangers of Giving Cold Medicine to Toddlers


When an adult or older child suffers from a cold or cough, it's standard to reach for one of a few top-selling over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. But this habit is not necessarily a good one, and becomes dangerous when it's done for children under the age of two years. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that people under two years of age should not be given OTC cough medicine. Decongestants, expectorants and antihistamines were also listed as potentially dangerous. The decision was made after research linked such items to poisoning or death in hundreds of babies and toddlers. However, the administration wonders if parents are aware of the recommendation, and the seriousness of it. Along with the concern that parents are not aware of the FDA's suggestion is the larger fear that some pediatricians are ignorant as well. In one poll, over half of the 300 participating parents reported that their child's doctor told them these medicines are safe and effective for even the youngest patients. The truth is that OTC cough and cold medicines can have the rare but serious side effects of convulsions, rapid heart rates, decreased levels of consciousness, and even death on some children. Additionally, there are doubts as to the effectiveness of such medications for children under five years of age. Other findings from the above mentioned poll show that the use of OTC cold medicines for children under 2 is somewhat more prevalent in African American and Hispanic groups, as well as in lower income brackets. Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, who runs a private practice in West Michigan, had the following to say in response to the recent concerns: "Sadly I am not suprised by this study's findings. In my clinical practice I come accoss countless parents and even doctors who are not aware of the latest research demonstrating the dangers of children's cough and cold medications. My wife and I started Honey Don't Cough with the mission to educate parents and doctors about the dangers of children's over-the-counter cough and cold medications, and to collaborate with pharmacies to place a safe, natural chioce onto the pharmacy shelves.  Although we are making progress, we still have a long way to go" Natural cough medicine is currently gaining popularity as an alternative to OTC and synthetic brands. It is important to note that while many of these are safe products, several do contain honey, which should never be given to babies under one year of age. The bottom line is that the combination of toddlers and cough medicine is not worth the risk. Never hesitate to question your pediatrician on the subject of cold medications and your child. Sources:

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