The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intends to review the safety of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for toddlers and preschoolers. This action is being taken in response to a petition filed by Baltimore public health officials this past week. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been warning parents about the safety of these drugs for a decade, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports two months ago that more than 1500 babies and toddlers wound up in the emergency room of a recent two-year period because of such drugs.
The problem is that the FDA has never approved dosing recommendations for kids under age 2, and it remains unclear how much of the various ingredients it takes to injure or kill a child that young. As things stand, the labels on these drugs warn parents of kids under age 2 to consult a physician before dispensing the medicine. The petition is asking the FDA to require product labels to state that these sort of mediciations should not be used to treat children younger than age 6.