Many parents are cautious about using over-the-counter (OTC) medication to treat a cold in very young children and rightfully so. These drugs, while safe for teen and adult use, is not considered safe for young children. Widespread media attention about the dangers of using cold medicines has not been sufficient to stop the practise entirely – many parents continue to administer OTC cold medicines to their children despite being told not to. It results in thousands of emergency room visits every year, which could have been avoided if parents were more cautious.
Cold medicines can cause a range of side effects in children, some of which are very serious. Although the incidence of childhood death from using cold medicines is very low, it is nevertheless a possibility and most cautious parents would rather not take the chance. Some authorities advise that cold medicines should be avoided in children under 2 years only but now it is being recommended that these drugs should not be administered to children under 4 years of age. Using it in children who are older should be done so with caution and only with proper advice from a doctor and/or pharmacist.