Before you give your young child medication, make sure to carefully read the label. According to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children s Hospital National Poll on Children s Health, 40 percent of parents are giving children under four years of age cough medications they should not be taking. And 25 percent of parents reported giving their children of the same age decongestants.
Although this finding may not seem surprising due to the fact that most children catch colds 5 to 10 times per year, these medications have the potential to cause side effects ranging from constipation and sleepiness to allergic reactions, hallucinations and convulsions. And furthermore, according to Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children s Hospital National Poll on Children s Health, These products don t reduce the time the infection will last and misuse could lead to serious harm.
In response to previous findings reporting that parents were misusing these drugs, the FDA issued an advisory stating that these medications should not be given to infants and kids under two. And Dr. Davis advises parents to talk to their child s doctor with questions about these medications.
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross says, When considering the facts that these medications will not help to alleviate infection and they do have the potential to have side effects there is no reason why parents should be giving children under four cough medicine or decongestants. In this case, the risks far outweigh the benefits and parents should abide by the labels.