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Children's cough and cold medicine: what is appropriate at what age?

Ideally, when your child gets sick, you should take him or her to the doctor, for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, sometimes it is okay to use over the counter medication to treat minor coughs, colds and fevers, or as a temporary measure, until you can seek proper medical attention.
 
It’s worth remembering that over the counter medicines don’t cure coughs or colds – they simply lessen the symptoms. It’s your child’s own immune system that fights off the viruses that cause coughs, colds and fevers. You also need to remember that you should only ever give your child age appropriate medications, in the correct doses, and that adult medications, including aspirin, are never safe for children!
 
Paracetamol pain and fever relievers are safe to use with children aged from shortly after birth to five months, although with children under three months, this should only be done with your doctor’s advice. Don’t use ibuprofen for children under five months.
 
Children between five months and six years can safely take both paracetamol and ibuprofen, although you should always follow the dosing instructions carefully.
 
Over the counter expectorants, decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants should not be used for children under the age of four, but most are okay for children aged four to six years. Always read labels carefully.
 
If in doubt about any medication, make sure that you check with your doctor or pharmacist. In most cases, however, it’s a good idea not to try alternative or home remedies on children who are babies or toddlers.

More questions

Concern over give infants cold medicine
There are very specific guidelines when it comes to safely administering over the counter medications to babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Fever is often the first sign of an illness in children. When your child has a temperature it can be a worrying and stressful time.
Sore throats and coughs are two very common illnesses for children.
Once you have established your baby has a fever and have taken practical measures, such as placing them in a cooler environment, to combat this, a fever-reducing medication can be administered.
Febrile convulsions are caused by a rapid increase in the body temperature of young children.
Once you have established your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control
If your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control.
The average body temperature should be between 35°C and 37°C.
 
While a fever can be treated, it's important to keep in mind that fevers are usually the symptom of an illness and not the illness itself.

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