The FDA today released a statement declaring OTC cough and cold medicines too risky for children under the age of 2 and warned parents to avoid using them ""because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur." This comes on the heels of drug companies pulling many of their infant cold medicines off the shelf this fall. Today, however, is the first time the government has issued a ruling on this matter due in large part to concern that parent’s are not heeding the previous warnings. And by spring, the FDA will rule whether these medicines are appropriate for children even older – up to age 12. Click here to read the entire article FDA Statement
I suspect that this will leave parents once again confused as to what is and is not safe. Many "veteran moms" and, I suspect, some pediatricians will tell you that these medicines can still be given safely. Some will wonder which medicines are safe and others, hating to see their children suffer, will still "sneak it." But, as always, I say know the facts and practice pragmatic parenting. As with the recent toy recalls, many moms are saying that now is the time to get back to basics. There are many remedies to help relieve cold symptoms that are safe and effective.
Honey: According to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, giving children over the age of 1 a teaspoon of honey has proven to be more effective than cough medicine at quieting the cough and helping them sleep.
Lots of Fluids: "It’s critical to keep children extremely hydrated when they have a cold." explains Barb Dehn, NP and national health expert. Some creative ideas for getting children to take fluids include giving them slushy drinks, cut up melon and jello cubes.
Keep Their Environment Moist: Place a cool-mist humidifier in the nursery to keep the air moist.
Relieve a Stuffy Nose: Use saline drops to soften secretions and a bulb syringe to suction out mucus.
Offense is The Best Defense!
- Practice good hand-washing skills and carry alcohol-free hand sanitizer gel with you to clean hands in high-germ areas such as grocery stores, playgrounds and especially pediatricians’ offices.
- Frequently wash down "high-touch" items such as door knobs, phones, remote controls and light switches.
- Don’t allow family members to share food, cups, utensils, toothbrushes and towels. Allow a child who is sick to use paper plates and cups and plastic utensils that can be thrown away.
- Teach children to cover their mouth with their arm when they cough and sneeze.