Don’t Bother Giving Kids Cough and Cold Medicines | Consumer Reports

When your little
ones are sick, you want the quickest, most
effective remedies. Consumer Reports
medical experts say that not only is
there little evidence that children’s liquid cough
and cold medications help very much, they can
have risky side effects. And they should never be
taken by children under four, according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Children under 12
should never take medications containing codeine. The FDA recently
warned that they can cause life-threatening
breathing problems. So when your child has
symptoms, what should you do? Consider these tried and
true remedies instead. Stay hydrated. Drinking fluids
helps prevent mucus from getting lodged in
the nose and throat. Warm drinks, like soup
or decaf tea with honey, can loosen congestion and
soothe an irritated throat. Recent studies have
found that honey is as effective at
relieving a cough as some over-the-counter
cough drugs. For children one and older, the
American Academy of Pediatrics advises 1/2 to one
teaspoon of honey is needed, but never give
honey to a child under 12 months of age. For children five and
over, sucking on a sugar free throat lozenge
or candy can help relieve an irritated throat
and reduce the urge to cough. Don’t give hard candy or
lozenges to younger children as they can choke on them. Older children can
ease a sore throat by gargling with salt water. And you’ll both feel good
once they’re feeling better.


  1. You can say the same thing for any age.
    If I take medicine it takes me like a week to get over a cold. Without medicine, it takes me like 3 or 4 days.

  2. To add onto the recommendation for honey, make sure it's actually honey and not flavored corn syrup. The fake honey won't be nearly as effective.

  3. This is already well known. Parents who give kids medications for a common problem are just living in a 3rd tier logic system.

  4. Over the counter drugs treat symptoms, not diseases. They work better than the remedies you listed as well. If my child can't sleep because their sinuses are clogged with mucous, I'm going to give an antihistamine to help soothe them and help them sleep. My children and I will have a far better night than anybody who takes your advice.

  5. I thought the point of cough medicine was to to knock you the fuck out for several hours so your body can rest and fix itself while you don't have to suffer near as much during that time. I've slept away an entire weekend in a Nyquil coma in an attempt to be better by Monday. It worked plus I lost a few pounds! You wake up just often enough to drink some OJ or soup, dose yourself again and take a wizz. It probably works even better if you're a parent giving it to a crying child. I doubt a spoonful of honey would have the same effect!

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