NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Parents Continue to Administer Nonprescription Cough and Cold Products to Young Children

May 29th, 2013

More than 40% of parents continue to administer nonprescription cough and cold medications to children younger than 4 years of age, according to the January 2013 University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. One in four parents reported giving decongestants to children younger than 4 years of age. Parents’ use of cough and cold medications did not differ by parent gender, parent race/ethnicity, or household income.

In a 2008 public health advisory, the FDA recommended that nonprescription cough and cold medications not be used in infants and children younger than 2 years of age because of the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening adverse effects. In response, manufacturers of nonprescription pediatric cough and cold products changed their labels to state that the medications should not be used in children younger than 4 years of age.

The web-enabled poll was sent to a randomly selected, nationally representative, stratified panel of 498 parents with a child 1 month to 3 years of age. The survey completion rate was 57% among the panel members contacted to participate. The margin of error is ± 8 to 11 percentage points and higher among subgroups.

The complete report of the survey can be accessed at http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/parents-ignore-warning-labels-give-c....