Say no to cold meds

QOur 3-year-old daughter has a terrible cold, but none of the available OTC medications are listed as safe for ages 3 and younger. Our friends give their toddlers these medications anyway. Is this safe?


A: For years, there were dozens of medicines to help relieve kids’ runny noses, watery eyes and harsh coughs. Today, however, those products have pretty much disappeared and parents have been wondering what they can do.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration changed the recommendations around cold medicines designed to treat colds and coughs for young children. Why?

There were too many children either having adverse reactions or inadvertently getting too much medicine. 

This was especially true for acetaminophen — which can cause liver injury — and pseudoephedrine, which can cause problems with the cardiovascular system. 

Additionally, the products hadn’t been shown to be all that effective in toddlers and young children. 

The best approach to take when your child becomes ill is to stay away from these cough and cold products — because of the possibility of adverse reactions as well as their limited effectiveness. 

It’s always a good idea, however, to talk to your child’s doctor. Ask your pediatric clinician for his or her opinion if your child comes down with a bad cold.