A Parent’s Guide to Medicine Safety
As parents, we never want to see our children sick. It’s often painful for us to see our children in
discomfort and it’s also difficult to comfort them when they don’t understand why they’re sick.
Sickness leads to bad moods and cranky kids, which in turn leave parents frustrated and often the
whole family gets stressed out when sickness invades the home.
Our first response is usually to find a medicine that will cure the illness. But along with curing
whatever ails your child, there are certain dangers associated with medicines, both prescription
and over the counter (OTC). This guide will help you decide if medicine is even a necessary
treatment, safety tips to ensure your child gets the correct dosage, natural remedies, tips for when
to seek medical attention, and questions you need to ask your pediatrician.
Cold Symptoms: Does Your Child Need Medicine?
What do you do when your child comes home from school sniffling? Or has a nagging cough?
Or has a slight fever? Do you run right to the store to get some cough and cold medicine?
Many OTC medicines treat the symptoms only, rather than the illness itself, so you should
determine just how uncomfortable your child is before doling out the medicine. Medicines are
most effective against severe symptoms rather than minor symptoms. A slight case of the sniffles
doesn’t require medicine but severe congestion can benefit from a decongestant. Use simple
common sense or call your pediatrician to determine the severity of your child’s symptoms.
Also take your child’s age into consideration when determining if she needs medicine. Infant
OTC medicines have been deemed unreliable for treating symptoms. Children under the age of 2
risk the possibility of severe, life-threatening side effects from some OTC medicines and the
FDA is currently reviewing the guidelines for toddlers.
Considering that these medicines are all man-made and full of chemicals, do we really want our
children ingesting medicines that might cause them harm, especially if they don’t really need it?
If there’s any question about the effectiveness, why risk the possible side-effects?