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MSD Manual

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Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Treatments for Children

Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Treatments for Children

Children are particularly likely to get coughs and colds, and symptoms of these disorders may make them very uncomfortable. Parents and caregivers understandably want to relieve symptoms and help children feel better. However, there have only been limited studies in children younger than 4 years of the effectiveness and safety of products to treat coughs and colds.

People should not give over-the-counter cough or cold preparations to children under 4 unless a doctor tells them to do so and gives specific instructions on dose.

Caregivers should be sure to use only products formulated for the child's age and weight.