No cold meds for kids under 4

October 7, 2008 7:36:17 PM PDT
Eli Foulk has a bit of a cough but his mom is avoiding giving him any over-the-counter medicine.

"If he doesn't actually physically get up at night and it's not bothering him at two in the morning, he's fine without it," Becky Foulk said.

There is still a huge debate as to when and how children's cold and cough medicine should be used. Today, a group representing drug manufacturers said it will start putting new labels on such products warning parents not to give them to children younger than 4-years-old. Currently, the most common warning is for children under the age of two.

"These are not inherently dangerous medications, but if they are used inappropriately in high doses they can cause problems," allergist Robert Torrano said.

It was just one year ago manufacturers pulled from the shelves cold products targeting infants and young children. The move came amid increased scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration.

But some doctors still do not think Tuesday's actions go far enough and they want to see the FDA take further action.

"This is not a big move forward; it keeps all of the products out there and many people won't notice the change," Lucile Packard Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene said. "But there is one silver lining and that it's beginning to get the word out that for younger children these don't really help."

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with Greene. Without proven benefits, the Academy believes there is no reason to accept any risks. It would like to see all cold and cough products banned for children under the age of six, including Eli Foulk.

Parents should never:

--Give adult medicines to a child.
--Give two or more medicines with the same ingredients at the same time.
--Give antihistamines to make a child sleepy.

Parents should:

--Give the exact recommended dose, using the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
--Keep OTC medicines out of sight and out of reach.
--Consult their doctor if they have any questions.

Colds usually clear up by themselves after a few days, and many doctors say rest and drinking plenty of fluids are all that's needed.

Related Link:
THE BACK STORY: Is the cold medicine ban the right answer?


Load Comments