Is It Safe To Give Cold and Cough Medicine for Babies & Children

Should You Give Cold and Cough Medicines to Infants and Kids?

Cold and cough are very common ailments that babies and young children may suffer from. It is normal for children to suffer from these ailments, but should you give them medicines for a cough and cold every time they suffer from the bout? Giving too many medicines to a child is not a good idea and self-medication should also be strictly avoided in case of younger children. So, what should you do? Read this post and know various aspects concerning administering medicines to your baby or kids in detail.

Are Cold and Cough Medicines Safe for Infants and Children?

Administering cold and cough medicines to infants or young children may not be a good idea. This is because medicines for a cough and cold may pose serious threats for children younger than two years of age. It has also been proved that cold and cough medicines do more harm than good to babies. Moreover, any such medicines should only be given after they have been prescribed by a doctor.

Which Cold and Cough Medicines Are Not Recommended for Babies and Kids?

You should refrain from giving these cough and cold medicines to your baby or kid:

  • Cough suppressants.
  • Decongestants.
  • Cough expectorants.
  • Some types of antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine maleate, diphenhydramine and brompheniramine.

Risks of Giving Cold and Cough Medicine to Infants and Children

A cough and cold medicine may sometimes pose serious threats to children who are below two years of age. Convulsions or rapid heart rate are some of the side effects that babies and children may experience. Also, dangerous side effects have been reported in case of overdosage or when parents administer two or more over-the-counter medicines with similar ingredients. There is not enough scientific evidence available which support the fact that cold medicines are helpful in curing the condition. Therefore, one must not rule out the potential risks and give cold and cough medicines sparingly or after consulting the doctor only.

Cough and cold medicine


Consider the following points before you give any cold and cough medicine to your munchkin:

  1. If you are giving any two or more over-the-counter medicines to your baby, make sure you check the ingredients with utmost care. This is because sometimes medicines may contain similar kind of ingredients and giving such medicines may lead to drug overdosage.
  2. Always administer medicine as per the weight and age of the child. Usually, dosage instructions are mentioned on the medicine label, read and follow them strictly.
  3. Do not administer aspirin to your child. Aspirin can lead to medical complications in children like Reye’s syndrome.

Alternatives to Cold and Cough Medicines for Babies and Children

Most of the times, the symptoms of a cough and cold in babies and kids may be mild and subside within a few days. So, instead of giving any medicines, you can try out other alternatives as well. There are many home remedial measures that you can adopt to help your kid feel better.

Home Remedies to Help Relieve Cold and Cough

Here are few home remedies that you may help relieve the symptoms of cold and cough in your child:

1. Lemon and Honey

Lemon and honey is a great remedy for a cough and cold. One tablespoon three times a day, should do the trick. Honey mixed with warm water is also a good option. However, do not give honey to babies who are less than a year old to avoid the risk of botulism.

2. Turmeric Milk

This age-old remedy has been passed down from generations. Simply stir a pinch of honey in a glass of milk and give it to your child at night before bed. You can even mix some jaggery for sweetness.

Turmeric milk

3. Orange Juice

Vitamin C does a great job in killing the germs that cause a cold. Give a few sips of the juice to your child regularly for best results. But, if your child has a sore throat it is best to avoid this.

4. Chicken Soup

The warmth of the soup will ease the nasal passage making it easier to breathe. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties which are great if your child suffers from a cough.

5. Ginger Tea

Boil some ginger with tea and give a few spoons of it to your child. Babies under one year can drink a few spoons and older kids can have a small cup of ginger tea.

Ginger tea

Can You Give Over-the-counter Medicines to Your Child?

Over-the-counter medicines can be procured without a doctor’s prescription but if you don’t know how to administer the medicine correctly, avoid giving it to your child. Many doctors believe that babies and children younger than 2 years should not be given a cough or cold medicine until it becomes absolutely necessary. Therefore, you must exercise great caution while administering any medicine for a cough and cold for 1-year-old baby or to an older child, without consulting your doctor. This is because most cold and cough medicines mention the dosage as per the weight and not as per the age of the child, which may get tricky for parents to understand. Also, just because these medicines are easily available, you should not give them to your kid because they may not be recommended in all cases.

When to Consult a Doctor

Parents may often find it difficult to analyse when they should take their baby to the doctor. One simple rule that you can follow if you feel concerned or worried about the well-being of your baby or child is to take him to the doctor at once before self-prescribing medicines. Babies and young children cannot express their pain or discomfort and sometimes the serious signs or symptoms may be ignored. If your baby has a stuffy nose, it may disrupt your baby’s sleep, and this can make him cranky and irritable, so make sure you take your baby to the doctor at the earliest to ease his discomfort. Also, dehydration may become a cause of concern; dehydration can be established if your baby’s mouth appears parched. He may be shedding fewer tears while crying, he may appear tired and exhibit other such signs. If you notice the following symptoms, give him water. And instead of giving any cold and cough medicine to your little one, seek medical help.

If you act promptly and opt for home remedial measures, you may not have to give any medicine for curing a cold and cough. However, if your child appears sick and does not seem to improve after giving home remedies, you must visit your child’s doctor for consultation.

Also Read: Hydrocortisone Cream for Babies
Baby is Fake Coughing
Exercises That Make Your Baby’s Bones and Muscles Stronger!
Seasonal Allergies in Babies & Toddlers

Previous article «
Next article »