The majority of parents with children age 2 and under, 61%, have given their children nonprescription cough and cold medicines within the last 12 months, according to a national survey conducted in January by Knowledge Networks for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The survey asked parents about using over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for the children ages 6 months to 2 years.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally recommended that over-the-counter cough and cold products not be used for children in this high-risk age group. However, survey results indicate parents aren’t heeding the FDA’s warnings.
When deciding whether to use an OTC medicine, two-thirds of parents reported wanting their child to be able to sleep better or to be more comfortable during the day as “very important” reasons. Over half (56%) said having their child’s health care provider recommend the medicine was very important.
In commenting on survey results, sponsors said, “Further work is needed to verify that child health care providers understand FDA warnings about OTC cough and cold medicines, and to ensure that health care providers are giving parents clear and consistent messages about these medicines’ safety and effectiveness.”