Cold Medicine Warning

Cynthia Dermody

Photo by peajewel

We don't want our little snuffle bugs to suffer any more than they have to, as jacobsmommy78 mentions in her Toddler Moms group post (application required). So many of us reach for an over-the-counter children's cold medicine. You probably even have a bottle or two left over from last season, indicating the exact dosage for your 1 to 4 year old ...

Wait! Before you pour, consider this latest news.

The labels on kids cold medicines will soon read "do not use in children under 4." Huh? What happened?

Well, doctors and pediatricians have said for years that children's cold medicines don't really work. Now, drug makers are finally giving in and changing the labels to discourage parents from using them in young kids. And if they're not in the house, there's less chance a toddler will sneak a slug or two when Mom or Dad isn't looking.

Cold medicines are generally safe to give your child when used as directed--but that's mainly the problem. Parents can inadvertently give too much, or the ingredients can react with other medicines.

By all means, you should still give your child Tylenol and Motrin, as directed by your doctor, for fevers and general aches and pains. But to loosen mucous and ease the runny nose, scratchy throat, and coughing, Dr. Richard Groman, chairman of the section on pharmacology and therapeutics for the American Academy of Pediatrics, swears by his grandmother's homespun recipe:

1. Warm food. Spaghetti, hot chocolate, chicken soup. "Any food that gets your nose into the plate," he says.

2. A humidifier or vaporizer while they sleep.

3. A bedtime story in a steamy bathroom (run the shower).

4. Saline nose drops. You can buy Ocean drops, or your pediatrician can give you a recipe to make your own.

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