Friday, October 03, 2008

Kiddie Cold Meds Called Out Once Again: Dangerous?

Weather's turning cold, time to rethink kiddie cold meds....

Yesterday the FDA rejected a ban on cough and cold medicines for children under 6 years old despite pleas from pediatrians questioning both the safety and the efficacy of the over-the-counter concoctions. So why no ban? Dr. John Jenkins, head of the FDA's Office of New Drugs suggested an immediate ban might lead parents to dose up their youngsters with adult formulas. Sure, the lack of research on the matter concerned him. But he admitted there's no "public health emergency here."

Remember the thousands of kids sent to the ER because of these meds? Most involved preschoolers swiping a sip or two or ten of the candy-colored elixirs. Remember the nearly 80 million bottles sold last year? The more than 800 products to choose from? That's a whole lot. Nearly 10% of kids receive these drugs on any given week according to a recent Chicago Tribune article.

Doesn't seem like an emergency to me either. Nor did it the last few times I posted on the matter. So they might not be very effective, the side effects may outweigh the benefits - but that's another matter. Are they dangerous? Doubt it. As for their efficacy...excuse me, but are we going to pull all other ineffective, unnecesary and/or useless items that parents buy? Gas drops, lavendar-infused shampoos, talcum powder, wipe warmers, shopping cart covers, newborn booties, not to mention the really big-ticket items (see Pamela Paul's excellent book "Parenting, Inc.").

You'll recall the FDA already banned the drugs for children under 2. Wonder if Dr. Jenkin's concerned about these little people - wonder how many infants and babies are getting the adult formulas? This is just the kind of thing to pop up in the Bad Parent column over at Babble. "Go ahead and crucify me - I let my toddler watch tv all day and dose her up with my cough syrup at night.." I can hear the confessions already...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used these for all my kids without any problems. I just read an article saying that strawberry jam is subject to more regulation than cigarettes. And then the FDA bans kid's medicines that yes, have not been studied, but seem relatively safe.