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Cold Medicine for 16 Month Old

Hi Moms! I need some personal advice on giving a 16 month old cold medicine. My daughter is very congestion and coughing like crazy. She kept us up all night last night becasue she was coughing and crying. We eventually brought her to bed with us and she still cried all night because she feels so terrible. To make matters worse, she coughs so hard that she keeps puking up her food, all over herself and whoever is feeding her. I want to give her some relief and have tried saline drops, suctioning with the battery operated suction, humidifier, vapor rub, and elevating won't work because she moves all over her crib. I am tempted to give her some childrens cold medicine but don't know what kind, and if it is safe or not. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I work full-time so another night without sleep isn't going to work! Thanks!

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Thanks Moms for all of your advice! I went to the doctor the day that I posted the question after calling an on-call nurse and she said I should DEFINITELY take my daughter to the doctor. I did and of course was told to keep doing what I had been doing. I was so mad at the fact that I assumed that anyway, but I guess better to be cautious since there is whooping cough and bronchitis to be afraid of. Anyhow, this week has been rough! I have been doing everything except giving her medicine, natural or not, and removing dairy since she will not drink anything but milk and wasn't holding food down. I wanted to get some natural remedies, but with the huge snow storm have not been able to make it out yet. Also, I think the honey was the source of my daughters AWEFUL stomach ache that kept us up all night on Tuesday night. FYI for anyone thinking of using honey. Once I realized she had a stomach ache I gave her Mylicon, she released a TON of gas, and then went back to sleep. Thanks again for all of the great advice!

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If you haven't done so already, take her to the doctor, especially since she is coughing so hard she pukes. It may be something more serious than a cold. They also may be able to give her something to calm down the cough so she can sleep at night.

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Vick's Vapor Rub on the bottom of her feet and then put some socks on her before bed-sounds strange but it really seems to work! :) Also keep her very hydrated-fluids are essential. Good luck and I hope you all get some sleep!


Put the vicks vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on her. It will control the coughing. I would definately call the doctor FIRST if you plan on giving her cold medicine. I don't think it is recommended that you give it to babies that young. A cold mist humidifier might help to.
I really hope she feels better.
Good luck,

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If you haven't done so already, take her to the doctor, especially since she is coughing so hard she pukes. It may be something more serious than a cold. They also may be able to give her something to calm down the cough so she can sleep at night.

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Hi C.....I just saw on the news that NO cold medicine is safe for chidren under 4 years of age. Awhile ago they were saying nothing is safe for kids under 2, now they say nothing for kids under 4. Maybe try a Hylands product. Hylands is all natural and supposed to be very safe. I know they have a full line of products, not sure what they have for colds, but maybe you could check it out. I would be terribly afraid to give anything else besides Childrens Tylenol or Hylands. Good luck and I hope your little one feels better. You could always call her Dr.

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There are nyquil and dayquil equivalents for children as well as Tylenol Cold for Children. The generic brands from the pharmacy, grocery stores and super stores work just as effectively. Usually their dosage is around 8-16 ml, and the dropper is included in the package. I have also used IBProfen brands to treat cold symptoms and ear aches.

you might want to check on this for sure but I beleive that it is safe to give honey to kids after age 12 months--honey and lemon in warm water will help or just a small spoon of honey will help to calm her cough and sore throat. Elderberry syrup is the best remedy for any viral illness also, though I don't know if it helps with cough or not.

Cold medicines are not recommended for children under the age of 6. Allegedly they don't work anyway. My daughter was terribly sick her first winter (from about 9 months till 14 months). I finally talked her doctor into giving her a decongestant and it made a world of difference for her and for us. Could you talk to her doctor and see if he/she recommends anything as far as medicine?
I don't know if you've tried this, but it sometimes works for us. Turn the shower on full blast hot water only, let the bathroom get good and steamy then sit in the bathroom with her. Sometimes that helps to loosen things better than the saline drops. If her cough is really chesty then she may have something else going on than just a regular cold. Call your doc and see what they say.

Hi, C.! I'm so sorry to hear that your little girl is feeling so horrible! We've been going through this lately as well. We ended up at the doctor's office, and of course, they gave us nothing, because "it has to run its course." But if your daughter is coughing that much, they may give her something for it. I ended up giving my daughter a 1/2 t. of Tylenol non-drowsy cold medicine. It definitely helped her. The doctor knows I give it to her, and said it was fine. I also tried propping up her pillow a bit, but I don't know how well she stayed on it, because she's all over her crib. I've also heard that when they are coughing that much, to put Vick's vapor rub on the bottom of their feet and put socks on (or jammies with feet in them), and that is supposed to help them get rid of the cough, warm up and sleep. I've actually heard that from several people who say it works! Try it!! I wish you and little Miss Zoe a speedy recovery!!

I just saw a pedetrician on the Today show that said to give a child a spoonful of honey to help with colds. It's so much better than cough syprups and safer. A child over the age of one can have honey. Just thought I'd pass this along to you.

I would suggest Hyland's brand Cold Tablets. They are all natural and safe. I have not used them yet because the child must be at least 1yrs old and my girls are a couple months shy. I do use their teethign tablets and LOVE them. I have bought the cold tablets to have on hand when they are old enough. Because they are all natural they are much safer than other medicines. Also, I would not give anything new to your child without first making a call to their Doc to confirm it is ok.

I see that you have many great responses, so forgive me if I repeat. I know what its like to be up all night with that nasty cough!! Our dr told us that none of the cough meds work, or if they do, they only work short term. I have found this to be true. We have used Tylenol cold and Delsym, neither of them work anymore. He recommended using Zyrtec, and that seems to work wonders last time we needed it. I would check with your dr, just to be sure.

You mentioned that you are using a humidifier. If you are using the warm water type, then switch to a cool mist vaporizer. One of my daughters is very susceptible to coughs and they often turn into croup (it's horrible), and the pediatrician told me to use the cool mist vaporizer (not the steam one). It works much better. Now at the first sign of a cold or cough, I run one in her room at night.

I would recommend taking her to the pediatrician because if the cough is that bad,it might be croup. When my daughter has had croup very badly, they gave her a shot at the pediatricans office that helped bring the swelling in her away down. I also would bring her into a hot shower with me sometimes to get her past a particularly bad coughing fit.

As far as the cold medicines go, things have really changed recently, and pediatricians no longer recommend any over the counter cold medicinen for children under six years old. Maybe there is something they will prescribe for a younger child though.

I would take her to the Dr. If she is coughing so hard to vomit along with the other symptoms it could be more. it could be broncitis or an upper respitory infection and she may need an antibiotic and the Dr. could also give her a cough medicine.

My daughter is not sick very often, but has allergies and thus coughs when the sinus drainage is too much. She, too, coughs so much she vomits - she doesn't recognize the difference in the reflex yet.

The restrictions on cough medicines came from too many parents OVER medicating their children. If they had been used as directed, there shouldn't have been problems. I have used mucinex with my daughter during the day to help with the congestion.

Watch the temperature of your house, too. Turning it down just a couple of degrees may help - just put on warmer clothes. This time of year, the air is dry and you have to heat your house more, which causes the air to be even drier. I keep a pot of water heating on my stove and the cool mist vaporisor running during the day in the bedroom to try to keep the humidity up throughout the house. (Moist air is warmer, too!) When you're not as dry, you don't cough as much. Good luck!

Dear C.,

Try removing all dairy from her diet. It will lessen the production of mucus and may make a big difference. There are other things you can try from the health food store - Monolaurin & oil of oregano come to mind and you can also give her high doses of Vit "C". The worst that will happen is she will get loose stools. Then cut it back.

God Bless,


I have given my children tylenol my 3 year old and my 1 year old. I have also given my 3 year old mucinex for kids. They both seemed to work to relieve some the congestion and general achiness/blah feelings of being under the weather. I have only given them the very minimum dosage and not even on a consistent basis.

My interpretation of why cold medicines are so bad for little kids is because they don't work on everyone and some parents have given their children more and more medicine because it didn't seem to be working and subsequently overdosing them. Like I said, that is just my interpretation. It makes sense. Not all medicine works on adults so why would it work on children and the part about parents giving their children too much just makes me upset. Children are much smaller than adults so a little extra is a lot extra to them.

Keep doing what you're doing and don't use cold medicines. They don't help and might be dangerous - no studies have really been done to determine how safe they are. Little kids cough and sneeze for a reason - it clears the gunk out. If you suppress the cough/sneezing then they are much more likely to get more sick.

Try running a very hot shower with the bathroom door shut so it gets really hot and steamy. Hold her in there for 15-20 minutes and keep the nasal suction thing handy -- you'll probably use it alot.

I think that you should visit the pediatrician if you have not already. Coughing until she vomits could be a sign of a more serious issue, this is one of the halmarks of purtusis, or whopping cough wich is making a huge comeback these days. Better to be safe.


I would not give a 16 mo old decongestant/cough medicine! Did you know that decongestants can lower the seizure threshold and if your child is prone to seizures, can push them over the threshold. I found that out about 1.5 years ago when it happened to my then 18 mo. She's fine now, and has been prone to febrile (fever-induced) seizures that she'll hopefully outgrow.
I'm not trying to scare you. I just think that you really need to listen to the AAP/AMA warnings about cough meds/decongestants and young toddlers. Call you pediatrician for their advice.
I usually end up in the recliner with my toddler sleeping inclined on my chest. We also use an old-style humidifier that is hot (have to be careful for burns though) and I think that works better. It's an awful time and it can really wear on you too. I hope for all your sakes that she gets feeling better soon. Best wishes,

We use Sambucol (I believe you can get this now at Walgreens and CVS) and Elderberry syrup (Whole Foods). I would just go in any drugstore and ask them for a natural remedy for your 16 month old. We also use Young Living Essential Oils with success (Thieves instead of Vapor Rub).

it's true that most cold medicine is not a good idea. we use a homeopathic cough syrup and it works great. we also have a good herbal expectorant, which helps suppress coughing so they can sleep at night.

looks like you have already gotten some good advice. i would definatley call the doctor b/c she may have somehting going on in her chest that needs an antibiotic. otherwise be careful with cold medicines most are not approved for under age 2 and recently there was an article regarding using vicks and not to use it on children under 2. i would start off with calling the doctor and maybe a little warm honey. good luck i know it is very trying.

I'm not sure that there are any cold medicines you can give your 16 month old. When our girls were that age, we used the triaminic infant strips - but I'm not even sure those are on the shelfs any longer. Our doctor, and many parenting magazines, have suggested using a 1/2 teaspoon of honey for congestion and colds. We usually give our girls honey any time they have a coughing fit, and if they have a cold we always give it right before bedtime to sooth their troat.

Vicks Vapor Rub is a wonderful thing. Rub a little on her chest, put a little on the bottom of her feet and cover them with socks, you can add it to a cool mist vaporizer. And they make cough syrup for children, talk to your pharmacist to get the best one. What I am wondering is why you didn't mention talking to your doctor's office. She may have bronchial problems and need an anti-biotic.

My son has the same thing going on so I am right there with you. I started the Vics on the bottom of his feet and making sure he is wearing socks or footie jammies. It seems to help. Good luck.

Hi C.,
Cough/cold medicine is not supposed to be safe for small children. I use Hyland's Cough Syrup with Honey ~ it's 100% natural. I have been using it for our little one (who will be 2 on Valentine's Day) when she gets a cough. I have also heard of people using Sinupret Kids Suryp ~ it's an herbal supplement, the company theat makes it is Bionorica. I have not tried this product but heard it works. When our little one has a bad cough, we also make decaf tea & put honey & a LITTLE lemon in because honey is supposed to be a natural cough supresant (sp?). We put it in her sippy & she loves it! Good luck!

I agree with all the moms who recommend ALL NATURAL and Vicks baby rub, and there are many places you can go and get these things, depending on where you live will determine which place is closer. It may cost you a bit more to treat your child, but the future of their health is well worth it. We currently have 7 children and for more than half of them, I chose to go with the flow on raising them like a majority of our society and that included giving them the medicines I thought they should be getting when they were ill. I finally started opening my eyes to other alternatives, mainly their health and well being. There has been an OVERWHELMING difference in the health of our children and they are happier for it. So my advice is to look into your options and the benefits to you and your family.
Best wishes

Vick's Vapor Rub on the bottom of her feet and then put some socks on her before bed-sounds strange but it really seems to work! :) Also keep her very hydrated-fluids are essential. Good luck and I hope you all get some sleep!

A suggestion I haven't seen is to call your Pediatrician. They can prescribe a cough medicine for your little one that will help all of you get some sleep. They did for my son when he had a horrible cough that was keeping all of us awake most of the night. Regular Children's Tylenol or Motrin will also help with the all over pains and aches of being sick. I have used over-the-counter medicine for my son but he is hardly ever sick so it's only been a couple of times. I hope she is feeling better very soon.

Hi C.
I know that there is a homeopathic cough syrup out there that could help her coughing. As for the rest of her health...is she on any vitamins? Once you get her cleared up it would be very important to prevent this kind of thing as it could settle in her ears and then you have other issues. Preventing and building her immune system is very important. Please check out my web and decide for yourselp. I am a Shaklee distributor and we have an echinacia product called defend and resisit that would help her with her current problem. There is also a chewable vita C that she is old enough to take or you can crush them into yogert or applesauce. Alot of good stuff to keep your family healthy. Well if you are interested please feel free to contact me. www.livingwithsolutions.com
Good Luck S.

I would try natural remedies FIRST. Might want to get copies of NATURALLY HEALTHY BABIES & CHILDREN by Romm and The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NATURAL HEALTH & HEALING FOR CHILDREN by Weber.

What about eucalyptus? Try putting drops of this oil on her pillow (either side of her head). You can also put some in water on the stove and/or hymidifier. In addition, how about giving her some honey or honey & cinnamon?

It is true that cold medicines are not recommended for kids as young as yours and you are doing all the things that I would be doing. You can go to your local pharmacy and ask the pharmacist abt the cold meds. Don't forget to take all of the dairy products out of her diet b/c dairy tends to produce more phlegm which leads to greater congestion. You could try a home remedy that I have used: Get some chamomille tea, boil some water, put some of the teabags in a container and then put the boiling water in the container. (Maybe use another pot). Then take the container into your smallest bathroom and let your daughter breathe in the vapors (with the door closed). You just have to make sure that she doesn't touch the container. While you are doing that, you can also turn on the hot water and let the hot vapors in the room that she can breathe in. This should ease her pain and speed up the healing. Another mom suggested lemon and honey (heat it up in the microwave just a smidge) which is also wonderful and will help w/the congestion.


Put the vicks vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on her. It will control the coughing. I would definately call the doctor FIRST if you plan on giving her cold medicine. I don't think it is recommended that you give it to babies that young. A cold mist humidifier might help to.
I really hope she feels better.
Good luck,

DO NOT under any circumstance give your child cold medicine unless you have been directed to by a doctor. Kids have died because mommy or daddy medicated a kid so that they can sleep. Especially a child as young as yours.

After treating four kids with every medicine under the sun (including prescription decongestants) I can say I've had no luck finding anything that works.

As to the safety issue of cold meds for small children, I've heard on phramacist say that the main problem is actually in giving the child too much medicine (very easy to do with a little one). Another said most medicines were recalled because it was proven they aren't effective.

I've read to put vapor rub on the bottom of their feet & then put on warm socks. That's supposed to help with the coughing. It's worth a shot. And keep doing what you're doing so far with the humidifier, saline, and suctioning.

Good luck!

Try running the water in the shower really hot with the door closed (no one in the shower). Then sit in the bathroom with her for awhile. This will help clear her out. Very humid environment will help short term.
There are no safe cold medicines on shelves for infants, and I believe even children under 6 years old (if not then definitly 3 years old). The reason is that the risk that came with taking those medicines was higher than the benefit. Honestly, when my son was little none of them worked anyways. We normally ended up on an antibiotic because his were sinus infections. (Yes even little little ones can get sinus infections, and be absolutely miserable). The other thing that happens in infants when they get congested is an ear infection. This will cause the inability to sleep as the ears will be much more painful when laying flat. Sleeping in a recliner chair on a parents chest would help. They are more prone to ear infections because of the angle of their ear canal that goes from their ear to their throat. As an adult it's a 45 degree angle, but as an infant it's less angled allowing more fluid to get into the ears.
I would say if it continues to call and ask your ped. what to do. They changed all the medicine rules since my 5 almost 6 year old was that young, and I'm not sure what they suggest now to give now. Best of luck!

I feel your pain! I have a 22 month old, but she has had colds on and off since the removal of the infant cold medicines. My husband & I got the Children's Tylenol cold and asked for a syringe from the pharmacy so we can measure it out. Since she is younger than the recommended age, we only gave a fraction of what the bottle called for and it helped her sleep (until it wore off in about 4 hours).

Is it the best solution? Who knows, but she got to sleep for 4-6 hours and so did we. We didn't give it to her during the day, just once before bed and then again if she woke up in the middle of the night. Since the drainage isn't as bad in the day b/c she could sit up, we didn't want to give her more medicine than was necessary. We also got Vick's Baby Rub in order to open up her sinuses, which also helped.

The reason the medicines were pulled is because parents were overdosing their little ones when they didn’t think the stuff was doing the trick. I know there are probably a million studies out there telling you NOT to do it, but my daughter is 100% healthy and there is nothing PROVEN that says it isn't safe. We are VERY diligent about NOT over dosing. It didn’t cure the cold, but it did mask the symptoms so she could get some much needed sleep. We also made sure to keep her loaded up on fluids and fruit and stayed avay from dairy items as it produces more phlegm and makes swallowing harder! Good luck!

I know the medical community says not to give infants cold medicine, but I have been in the same boat you are now. You may want to try Robitussin. My daughter is 17 months and about 24 pounds. I give her 1/4 teaspoon every 4 hours as needed. I tried the elevated crib and had the same problem. I found that a combination of the Robitussin, humidifier, and vapor rub seem to allow everyone to get better sleep. My daughter also only seemed to cough at night for a while so the doctor suggested I try Zyrtec and maybe she was picking up an allergy. We now give that to her everyday and it seemed to help. Good luck!

The newest guidelines (since all the recalls for medicines) recommend no cough/cold medicine for children under 6. I think it used to be 2 but they changed it. Recently, my Ped. told me the studies show they don't really help significantly anyway. I have heard to give a teaspoon of honey to help the cough. I heard this on tv and also read it in Prevention mag. Give LOTS of fluids! Good luck.

Sounds like what my 21 months old son is going through right now. It is not recommended to give them any cough medicine under the age of 2. This is what I've been doing: I give my son honey (which helps with the coughing). I then put Vick's Vapor Rub on the bottom of his feet and put socks on him...this helps him sleep for at least 4 - 5 hours! Then I put more Vick's on him when he wakes up crying. And the humidifier is running in the room of course. Also, keep an eye out for a possible ear infection. I just took my boy to the doc yesterday and he had a bad ear infection. Very common when little one's have colds. I hope your daughter gets better soon!

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