The voluntary withdrawal of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children younger than 2 has raised questions about what's safe and how parents should treat children with such symptoms.USA TODAY shares some doctors' advice:
Question: What is different about the bodies of children under age 2 that makes medication such an issue? And what should parents of these very young kids do to relieve their symptoms?
Answer: "The way they handle medications is different," says Richard Gorman, a Baltimore pediatrician who chairs a panel for the American Academy of Pediatrics that deals with drug treatments. "They absorb them differently. They metabolize them differently. They excrete them differently."
He says parents should look to tried-and-true methods that are safe and may make your child feel better.
Question: We've been talking here about the under-2 and over-2 age groups. Should parents treat their symptoms differently?
Question: How do these medications affect children older than 2?
Answer: Guidelines issued last year by the American College of Chest Physicians noted that over-the-counter cough medications had "little, if any, benefit" in children, and antihistamines had "minimal" effect.
Question: What is the short-answer message to parents of young children?
Answer: "As far as cold medicines in young children, there is no proven benefit and definite proven risk," says Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu.
"Why chance it?"