Baby Center published a very nice helpful piece on eight medicines that you should not give your preschooler.
I would like to summarize it for you here.
Since the winter season usually brings with it colds and flu there is a tendency for over the counter self medication.
When it comes to healthcare one thing we know for sure is that children are not “little adults” and their reactions to medications can be much more severe. These adverse reactions in children can be more severe as well as different than reactions of adults to the very same medicines.
There are some medications that are not recommended for use by children at all.
Yes, even aspirin is on the list of medications not to be used with children. It has been known for many years that aspirin use in children can make them susceptible to Reye’s Syndrome. Reye’s Syndrome can be fatal. Aspirin is in many over the counter medications. Look for the words, “salicylate “of “acetylsalicylic acid” in the labels of medications. Become a label reader!
For fever check with your child’s doctor who may prescribe acetaminophen or ibuprofen
One of the products mentioned is the Chinese herb ma huang or ephedra or ephedrine. These are used as decongestants and have many side effects that include high blood pressure and irregular heart beats to name only two.
Check with your child’s doctor before giving your child any herbal remedies. Herbal remedies even though they may be natural can be harmful and can cause severe allergic reactions.
- Cough and cold medications:
Use of “over the counter” cold and cough medications are not advised for use by preschool age children according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
A child can suffer serious side effects such as rapid heart rate, convulsions and even death from these medications.
These “over the counter” medications should not be given to children at all without consulting your child’s physician. Anti- nausea medications have many risks and possible complications especially in children.
Vomiting in children can also be serious and you should consult your child’s doctor to prevent your child from getting dehydrated.
- Prescriptions prescribed for someone or adult medications/ EXPIRED medications
Never give adult medications to a child in smaller dose. If there is no dosage on the medication for children then the medication is not suitable for a child unless it is prescribed by a physician.
Do not give medications prescribed for another person even if it is another child in the family to anyone else. Give only prescribed medications to the person or child that is on the prescription bottle.
Do not under any condition give children or anyone expired medications or medications that do not look like they looked when the bottle was first opened. If the medication needs to be refrigerated keep it in the refrigerator. Make sure medications are kept at the temperature that is written on the label.
Do not dispose of expired medications in the sink or toilet as they can help to contaminate the water supply. For information on how to dispose of outdated medications check this link.
Medications are to be used carefully at all times.
Parents should be very careful with medications for themselves and their children.
Medications should always be kept out of reach of children.
Even teenagers should check with parents before taking any medications.
Make that a household rule.