Is it wise to give cold medicine to your baby?

cold medicine
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

There is nothing more heart-breaking for a mother than to see her little baby suffer before her eyes. If your baby falls sick, you fail to concentrate on anything and cannot relax unless he’s jolly once again. So, when your baby shows signs of common cold, it is natural to have the urge to make him feel better and provide immediate relief. But, how safe are these cold medicines that we all consume? Should we give them to babies? Let us learn all about cold medicines and their side effects.

Cold medicine: yes or no?

As per the opinion of ‘The Food and Drug Administration’ parents should not give any type of cold medicine to their baby in the initial four years. Prescribed cough medicines containing codeine should not be recommended to anyone below the age of 18. The reason is that they can have severe side effects such as slowed breathing. This could prove dangerous, especially for infants and young children.

Can medications treat cold?

Even if we frequently take help of cold medicines to get relief, there is no medicine that can cure cough and cold. All they can do is treat symptoms of cold, with a low success rate in children under 5. However, for a normal cold infection, it is better not to give antibiotics. As antibiotics can’t kill the cold virus, the virus will become immune to antibiotics, making them less effective during future use.

In case cold symptoms stay longer than you expected, it is better to pay a visit to the doctor.

Symptoms of cold and cough in a baby:

  • A runny/ stuffy nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Clammy hands
  • Trouble breastfeeding because of nasal congestion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of hunger
  • Irritability

When should you see medical help?

How do you know if its common cold or the flu? How long should you wait before taking the child before seeking medical assistance? It is time to go to a pediatrician if:

  • Your baby is dehydrated and does not eat anything
  • He is unable to breathe properly
  • The temperature is higher for more than 24 hours
  • Symptoms become worse

Do you need to give antibiotics?

If your baby has not just cold but a bacterial infection, he’ll require prescribed antibiotics.

Home remedies:

There are several non-medical options that you can and should try at home:

  1. Keeping him hydrated is a must.
  2. If your baby is just a few months old, you have to get the boogers out of the nose to help him breathe and sleep.
  3. You can also bring saline drops to free the nasal passageways.


The bottom line is to remember that building your child’s immunity is more important than providing him temporary relief. You also need to teach your child to endure some pain and you cannot always protect him from the harsh, outside world. A strong immune system will help him live a long and healthy life.

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