More than 7,000 American children a year end up in emergency rooms after taking over-the-counter cold or cough medicines, the federal Centers for Disease Control reports. Most of the children take overdoses of the drugs on their own, but a quarter have bad reactions to normal doses given by their parents, according to the study of kids under 12 published in Pediatrics.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has warned against giving cough suppressants, antihistamines and decongestants to young children. Doctors say packaging of the cold medicine should be changed, both to make it more difficult for children to get into and to make it less appealing to youngsters attracted by bright colors. "Parents need to be vigilant about keeping these medicines out of their children's reach," warned a doctor.