Should you give your child cough medicine? -

Should you give your child cough medicine?

It seems harmless enough to give your child suffering with a cold some cough medicine. But, the FDA says it is not safe for children under four. Board certified pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson says one of the reasons is because the FDA never adequately studied these medicines.

"The FDA went all the way back to the 1960s and they collected data and they said, 'Are these medicine actually dangerous for kids?' And what they found was that on average, about three kids per year were dying because of these cough and cold medicines," Dr. Natterson explains. "It might have been that the parents were actually double-dosing them. It might have been that they were combining them with other medicines. It might have been that the child had a side-effect from taking the medicine.  But, three children a year is three too many." 

Dr. Natterson says double-dosing is all too common with cough and cold medicines.

"It's confusing," she says. "It's hard to read the labels, the active ingredients are very long, complicated words with 15 or 16 more letters and five syllables, and frankly, everyone gives up when they read the labels."

Some of the words on the label that look a little different but really mean the same thing include the fever reducer acetaminophen. So you might see it listed as acetaminophen on one bottle and paracetamol on another, and not realize that you're giving your child the same medicine twice.

Dr. Natterson sees another problem with these medicines.

"The other side of it – and this is something that parents don't often know, but if you've ever used the medicines, you realize – is they don't work," she adds.

Surprisingly, there is no legal requirement that cough medicine manufacturers prove their claims of the products' benefits. So Dr. Natterson recommends treating a cold the old-fashioned way.

"Chicken soup, right?", says Dr. Natterson, "It works because it hydrates children. It keeps their mucus thin and flowing. The steam goes up the kid's nose and helps them blow their nose. Chicken soup's a fantastic remedy. Just straight hydration: water, any clear fluid is going to help your kid get over a cold. Rest. Good, old-fashioned rest. You keep your child home from school when they're sick, and just sack out in bed or on the couch and rest the body"

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Exclusive: Photos from Inside Anthony Sowell's Home

    Inside Look: Exclusives Photos Paint Disturbing Scene Inside Home of Anthony Sowell

    Saturday, May 1 2010 11:19 AM EDT2010-05-01 16:19:26 GMT
    GRAPHIC PICTURES: CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It was one of the most gruesome sights in Cleveland crime history.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
Powered by WorldNow