The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that children younger than 2 years old should not be given cold and cough medicines without parents first seeking advice from a doctor.
The agency has released this warning to parents of infants as part of a wider drive to reassess the safety of popular medicines which have reportedly caused adverse reactions in children under 2 years due to parents not giving the right dosage or not following instructions correctly.
Experts warn that many children are taken each year to hospitals for medical treatment after errors in dosing, accidental double dosing and two or more products being given at the same time containing the same active ingredients.
Other reports have suggested that young children up to the age of 6 may experience life-threatening adverse effects such as seizures, heart problems and hallucinations because of incorrect medication.
“Questions have been raised about the safety of these medications and whether the benefits justify any potential risks from the use of the products in children, especially in children under two years of age,” the FDA said in a statement.
Many parents generally consider over the counter products relatively harmless since they are freely available without a doctor’s prescription.