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children and OTC medicines:

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What can parents do if their children are too young or the healthcare provider advises against using cough and cold medicines?

Parents may consider clearing nasal congestion in infants with a rubber suction bulb. Also, secretions can be softened with saline nose drops. In addition, give the child plenty of filtered water because water is a natural expectorant.

Are cough and cold medicines safe for children under 2 years of age?

There are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved dosing recommendations for children younger than 2. Parents and healthcare providers should use caution when giving cough and cold medicines to children under 2 years of age.

Do cough and cold medicines work in children under 2 years of age?

There is little evidence that cough and cold medicines work in children under 2.

Should healthcare providers prescribe cough and cold medicines to children under 2 years of age?

Healthcare providers should exercise caution when recommending or prescribing cough and cold medicines to children under 2 and should always ask caregivers about any other cough and cold medicines the child might be receiving. No FDA-approved dosing recommendations exist for over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children younger than 2.

What should parents and doctors be careful of if they want to give cough and cold medicines to children under 2 years of age?

Be especially careful if giving more than one cough and cold medicine at a time to children younger than 2. Two medicines may have different brand names, but may contain the same ingredient. Some cough and cold medicines contain more than one active ingredient.

Parents should consult a healthcare provider before giving cough and cold medicines to their child and should always tell the healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medicines they are giving their child.





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