Cough and cold medicines specifically made for children under age 2 recently were removed from store shelves due to the potential for misuse. In addition, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration has recommended against giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under age 6.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers parents plenty of advice on how to soothe their child's symptoms without medication:
- When your child has a cold, make sure he or she gets plenty of rest and drinks extra fluids.
- Use a suction bulb to clear the nose of a child too young to blow his own, and help or encourage an older child to blow his or her nose.
- Consider using saline nose drops to soften the mucus. Drops can be made by adding teaspoon of salt to 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm water. Use two to three drops per nostril at least four times a day or as often as needed for children over age 1. Kids under age 1 need only one drop at a time.
- Protect the skin around stuffy noses with petroleum jelly.
- Treat a fever and its accompanying aches and pains with ibuprofen or acetaminophen for children over age 6 months. Follow the recommended dosage by age. However, never give pain relievers to children who are vomiting continuously or dehydrated.
- Sore throats can be remedied with cough drops or hard candy for children over age 4, and with warm chicken broth for kids over age 1.
- Contact your pediatrician at the first signs of illness for infants younger than 3 months of age.