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Giving Medicine to Children

As a parent or caregiver, you are in charge of your kids’ health. It's important to be prepared and know how to treat your child for allergies or a common cold as these symptoms can strike at any time thorughout the year.

There are many over-the-counter options available to help make your child feel better when he or she has a cold or allergies, but be careful to only use a medicine that treats your child’s specific symptoms. Our “Decrypting Your Child’s Symptoms: Colds vs. Allergies” checklist can help you better understand your child’s symptoms and how to treat with care. 

Allergy Medicines

Visit our allergy treatment page for tips on treating your child’s symptoms with OTC medicines. 

Cough and Cold Medicines

It is important to remember that oral OTC cough and cold medicine should not be given to children under the age of four. For specific information about kids cough and cold medicines, visit the cough and cold treatment page, or order a copy of our free brochure, Treat With Care. 
Whether it is to treat a child's cough or cold, reduce a child's fever, or treat another symptom, many parents and caregivers turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. When given as directed, OTC medicines can help treat your child’s symptoms. As with all medicines, however, they have risks if misused.

If a medicine does not include dosage instructions for your child’s age, do not give your child that medicine. Call your doctor for advice about the best treatment options for your child. OTC medicines should only be given to treat a child’s specific symptoms. It is also important to remember to safely store medicines when not in use. Visit the Up and Away website for tips and advice on how to safely store medicines.

Also, you should always use the dosage device that is contained within the package and never try to estimate with other tools like regular kitchen spoons. Medicine dosing devices are designed to make it as easy as possible to give exact amounts of medicine to your children. If you have lost the dosing device, talk to your pharmacist. For more resources on keeping your family healthy, visit the Parents section of OTCsafety.org or watch our video on "Kids and Medicine Safety."

General Medicine Safety Tips for Parents 

Below are some general tips to remember when giving your child OTC medicines:

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