Child Care Corner: Do not use OTC cough and cold remedies for children under four

By: JANE B. JONES

Extension Agent

Drug companies are placing new labels on over-the-counter children’s cough and cold remedies to read “do not use” in children under four.

Additionally, new labels on antihistamines warn parents and caregivers not to use them to sedate or make a child sleepy.

The transition to the new labels is taking place throughout the 2008-2009 cough and cold season. However, the FDA has indicated this labeling change will not warrant the removal of products with old labels from store shelves during the transition.

Research shows the primary problems with the cough and cold products are related to errors in dosing and accidental ingestion of the medicines, not the actual ingredients in the medicines.

Advice for parents and caregivers:

Follow the dosing instructions exactly using the measuring device that comes with the medicine.

Do not give a child medicine that is intended only for adults.

Do not use two medicines at the same time that have the same ingredients

Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

Do not use antihistamine products to make a child sleepy.

Consult your pediatrician with any medication questions.

You may go to the following website to print a copy of these guidelines that you can post in your home, school or center www.SouthernEarlychildhood.org.

For a complete list of the medicines affected by this change, go to www.otcsafety.org.

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