It's important for parents to understand the risks and know how to prevent their kids from intentionally overdosing on cough and cold medicine.

Cough and cold medicines can pose serious risks for young children. Be aware of facts and understand treatment alternatives. In children within the age of six years, these cough and cold medicines can continue to be used where necessary. This is because the risk of side effects is reduced in older children because they weigh more, get fewer coughs and colds and may say if the medicine is working or otherwise.

What About Antibiotics?

Antibiotics can be used to combat bacterial infections but don’t have any effect on viruses, which cause colds. If your child has a cold, antibiotics can’t help. It’s also important to remember that the more your child uses antibiotics, the much more likely he or she is to get sick by having an antibiotic-resistant infection in the future.

What’s The Concern About Cough And Cold Medicines For Kids?

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines don’t effectively treat the actual cause of a child’s cold, and won’t cure a child’s cold or allow it to be go away any sooner. These medications also provide potentially serious side effects, including rapid heart rate and convulsions. Use of cough and cold medicines for children younger than age 2.

What’s The Problem With Kids’ Cold Medicines?

One specific concern was these medicines were often not studied in children. Instead, these were studied in adults, and those results were then put on children. However, it’s not clear that adults and children will respond to these medicines in the same way. Even in adults, evidence is weak that cough and cold medicines help.

What Are The Risks Of Using Kids’ Cold Medicines?

Experts agree that the risks from kids’ cold and cough medicines are low, especially considering how common they’re.

Children suffer more colds each year than adults, because of their immature immune systems and to the close physical connection with other children at school or day care. In fact, the typical child will have six to eight colds annually, while the average adult will get two to four colds annually. However, the average number of colds for children and adults will be different.

How Can You Help Your Child Feel Better?

There’s no cure for that common cold, but you can help your child feel better while he or she is toughing it out. Consider these tips:

Encourage Coughing:  Coughing can help clear mucus from your child’s airway.

Offer Fluids:  Liquids such as water, juice and broth might help loosen congestion. Chicken soup – which could have a mild anti-inflammatory effect is another good choice.

Use A Suction Bulb For any Baby Or Young Child:  This device draws mucus out of the nose. Squeeze the bulb part of the syringe, gently put the tip inside one nostril and slowly release the bulb.

Moisten Nasal Passages:  Operate a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room. To prevent mold growth, alter the water daily and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Steam from the hot shower may help, too.

Risk Of Cold Medicines

Risk Of Cold Medicines

Soothe A Sore Throat:  Ice cream or frozen fruit pops might feel good on a sore throat. Warm or cold beverages sometimes help, too. To have an older child, gargling salt water or sucking on the piece of hard candy or perhaps a throat lozenge might offer additional relief. Keep in mind that hard candy and lozenges – both choking hazards – aren’t right for younger children.

Use Saline Nasal Drops:  Over-the-counter saline nasal drops – or saline spray, to have an older child – can loosen thick nasal mucus making it easier for your child to breathe. For babies, follow up with a suction bulb.

Encourage Rest:  Consider keeping your child home from child care, school and other activities.