As a pediatrician, I’m used to treating a lot of sick children. But it was only when I became a parent that I could understand how incredibly difficult it is to see your own child sick… even if it is ‘just the cold’.
As parents, we want our children to get better as soon as possible so I am often asked what medications can be given to children. While I do not recommend unnecessary treatment, sometimes children can benefit from products that help to relieve their symptoms-especially so that they can sleep comfortably and get some much needed rest!
For children less than four months old:
Children this young should not be given any over the counter cough or cold medication. If they have nasal congestion, we often use nasal saline drops followed by suctioning their nose to clear any mucus. The most important way to care for our youngest is to make sure that they stay well hydrated and that they are making the appropriate amount of wet and stool diapers. It is important to call your pediatrician if your baby develops fever, vomiting or any other respiratory symptoms as a common cold in newborns can progress quickly into something more serious.
For children older than four months and younger than twelve months old:
Most traditional over the counter cough and cold medications cannot be used in children younger than 6 years old. While many parents do give honey as a natural cough suppressant to children–honey should NOT be given to children younger than one year of age due to the risk of infant botulism.
However, you can try those made of natural ingredients that do not use honey such as Mommy’s Bliss Organic Cough Syrup. This cough syrup uses agave which is similar in viscosity to honey and can help to coat the throat.
As always please consult your pediatrician before using any medication or supplement for your child.
For children older than one year old:
Research has shown that honey can be an effective cough suppressant and can soothe the throat. The thickness of honey coats the throat and helps to thin the mucus, which in turn can decrease the cough reflex. Furthermore, honey has antioxidant effects that can boost immunity.
For children aged 1-5, you can start with half a teaspoon of honey and for older children, you can give a full teaspoon. Make sure to get your child evaluated by your pediatrician as well.
Since traditional over the counter cough medications are not advised for children younger than six, honey can be a great natural alternative!
Finally, for children of all ages, a cool-mist humidifier in the room can add much needed moisture into the air to help loosen the mucus and to ensure that both parent and child can get some much needed sleep.
I hope this helps you on your path toward finding bliss.
– Dr. Smita