2 Year old...can I Give Cold Medication?

Updated on August 24, 2010
L.W. asks from Florence, KY
17 answers

Hi Ladies
I know a few years ago they took the infant cold medications off the shelf. However (for some reason) was under the impression that once a child turned 2, you were allowed to give them something besides Tylonal or Motrin to help with cold symptoms. I briefly went to the grocery store (not walgreens) and the only thing I saw was "for children 6 and older". I was completely SHOCKED and was thinking if my kid is sick with a cough WHY do I have to wait until she is 6. The box said 36lbs for a 6 year old. My child is almost 30. If I give her 1/2 the dosage, would that be safe? I do plan on consulting my doctor about this, but i have a feeling they will error on the non lawsuit side and say NO WAY....what did you moms do? I am already giving her Motrin at night and Baby Vic's on her chest but that doesnt seem to help with her cought or the stuffines.
One last thing....what is the difference between Baby Vic's and the normal adult Vic's?? They smelled the same but I didnt compare the boxes.

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answers from Dallas on

Try using Saline Nasal Spray, a Cold Air Humidifier, elevate the head of the bed and tons of fluids. I dont use the Vic's on anyone it can constrict the air ways and actually make things worse.

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answers from Cleveland on

I was just told by a pharamacist that there is no safe cold med for a 2 yr. old. So better to play it safe. We stuck with the cool mist vaporizer, vics on his chest, and those vapor patches that go into the plug in for an outlet, which REALLY REALLY helped his cough at night. Push lots of fluids too. For whatever the reasons these OTC drugs have been found unsafe for kids under age 4-6, and with the way this country is so drug crazy that says all I need to know. Play it safe mom :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Check www.askdrsears.com

They are a family of reputable pediatricians/authors, who typically steer toward natural solutions, etc.

On their website, however, they have a section called the Medicine Cabinet, and it will list all medications safe for babies/kids and the dosages by weight/age.

I always consult this before giving my son anything...

And yes, doctors and pharmacists have to err on the side of not getting sued by the dumbass who overdosed their kid by not adhering to the proper dosing info. And no, cold medications have not been proven to work in children, and some are definitely unsafe if overdosed. But check the website, and see what it says.

There is also a natural formula used for toddlers/kids of all ages in Europe that we can now get here. I've even seen it at Walmart. It's called Sinupret. It's supposed to be wonderful. We have family in England, and they swear by it. Just another option.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Nope. No way. Never.
It is NEVER safe to try to make your own dosage. This is exactly one of the reasons (along with NO proof they actually work in kids) why no one under 6 can have cold medication. People were like doubling and tripleing the infant dosage and the infant stuff is WAY more concentrated and kids were getting dangerous amounts of the active ingredients.
If your pediatrician agrees to give her meds and tells you a dosage, I would switch pediatricians. It's just not safe.

Better to prop the crib, run cool mist, push fluids and make her comfortable.

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answers from New York on

When my son was a year old he had a bad cold and the doctor prescribed him medicine. Over the next two colds I used it up. When I was at his 2 year appt, I asked the doctor if I could use regular children's. He was very hesitant but told me to be very careful about dosage. I asked him why the major concern and he said parents were ODing their kids. If you look at the box, it tells you the dosage is for 6-12 year olds. I give my son cold medicine at night when he is sick but I give him 1-2 syrynge fulls that come with the baby motrin. It is a very conservative dose and it helps him sleep through the night. Sometimes I give him benedyrl in the same conservative dose on nights he is really sick. He is 2 1/2 by the way and 32 lbs. You just have to be very very careful. Some moms may say I am being reckless but I think the best medicine is rest and if your child is not resting at night he can not get better.

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answers from Seattle on

I do. I give my daughter and expectorant when she is congested. It keeps her from getting an ear infection on top of her cold and has worked great for us for the last year and a half. We discussed it with our ped and though he was sceptical, she did not have an ear infection since.
As far as dosing, you can find charts online or call your pediatrician for the correct dosage.
Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

My pedi gave me a chart for giving my daughter childrens benadryl for cold symptoms. I'm pretty sure the bottle says not to give it to a child under 4(?) and my daughter is 2. I feel like all the medecines have raised the age of when you can take them, probably for liability reasons. Check with your doctor, he/she may give you a dosing chart.

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answers from Columbus on

There's a medicine I found at Meijer, it's called Kids 0-9. It's safe for all ages. It's an all natural cold medicine. Here's a link to their site so you can locate where to buy it. It works great for my little ones.


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answers from Detroit on

YET ANOTHER EDIT- this is from http://www.advil.com/childrens/cold/cold_label.asp

Drug Facts
Active ingredients (in each 5 mL teaspoon) Purposes
Ibuprofen 100 mg (NSAID)*....................................Fever reducer / Pain reliever
Pseudoephedrine HCl 15 mg.................................................Nasal decongestant
*nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
Uses temporarily relieves these cold, sinus and flu symptoms:nasal and sinus congestion


stuffy nose

sore throat

minor aches and pains

WarningsAllergy alert: Ibuprofen may cause a severe allergic reaction, especially in people allergic to aspirin. Symptoms may include: hives

facial swelling

asthma (wheezing)


skin reddening


If an allergic reaction occurs, stop use and seek medical help right away.Stomach bleeding warning: This product contains an NSAID, which may cause severe stomach bleeding. The chance is higher if your child: has had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems

takes a blood thinning (anticoagulant) or steroid drug

takes other drugs containing prescription or nonprescription NSAIDs [aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or others]

takes more or for a longer time than directed
Sore throat warning: Severe or persistent sore throat or sore throat accompanied by high fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting may be serious. Consult doctor promptly. Do not use more than 2 days or administer to children under 3 years of age unless directed by doctor.Do not use in a child under 2 years of age

if the child has ever had an allergic reaction to any other pain reliever/fever reducer

right before or after heart surgery

in a child who is taking a prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (certain drugs for depression, psychiatric, or emotional conditions, or Parkinson’s disease), or for 2 weeks after stopping the MAOI drug. If you do not know if the child’s prescription drug contains an MAOI, ask a doctor or pharmacist before giving this product.
Ask a doctor before use if stomach bleeding warning applies to your child

child has problems or serious side effects from taking pain relievers or fever reducers

child has a history of stomach problems, such as heartburn

child has not been drinking fluids

child has lost a lot of fluid due to vomiting or diarrhea

child has high blood pressure, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes or asthma

child is taking a diuretic
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if the child is under a doctor’s care for any serious condition

taking any other product that contains pseudoephedrine or any other nasal decongestant

taking any other drug
When using this product take with food or milk if stomach upset occurs

the risk of heart attack or stroke may increase if you use more than directed or for longer than directed.
Stop use and ask a doctor if the child experiences any of the following signs of stomach bleeding:
feels faint

vomits blood

has bloody or black stools.
has stomach pain that does not get better

the child does not get any relief within first day (24 hours) of treatment

symptoms continue or get worse

fever or pain or nasal congestion gets worse or lasts more than 3 days

redness or swelling is present in the painful area

the child gets nervous, dizzy, or sleepless or sleepy

any new symptoms appear
Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.Directionsthis product does not contain directions or complete warnings for adult use

do not give more than directed

shake well before using

find right dose on chart. If possible, use weight to dose; otherwise use age.

if needed, repeat dose every 6 hours

do not use more than 4 times a day

replace original bottle cap to maintain child resistance

measure only with dosing cup provided. Dosing cup to be used with Children's Advil Cold Suspension only. Do not use with other products. Dose lines account for product remaining in cup due to thickness of suspension.
Weight (lb) Age (yrs) Dose (teaspoons)
under 24 under 2 yrs do not use
24-47 2-5 yrs 1 teaspoon
48-95 6-11 yrs 2 teaspoons
Other informationeach teaspoon contains: sodium 3 mg

store at room temperature 20-25°C (68-77°F)

alcohol free

read all warnings and directions before use. Keep carton.
Inactive ingredients artificial flavor, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, citric acid monohydrate, edetate disodium, FD&C blue no. 1, FD&C red no. 40, glycerin, microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 80, purified water, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution, sucrose, xanthan gumQuestions or comments? Call weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM EST at 1-800-88-ADVIL or ask your pharmacist, doctor or health care professional.

Difference in the Baby Vicks and the Adult is the actual medication... In Baby Vicks, it's only menthol... No other medication. Still works just fine.

EDIT TO ADD: I'm not suggesting cough SUPRESSANTS just to get that clear for all the women that would get pissed at me for even saying ask a pedi and pharmacist about it. AND THERE IS a cold med that is approved for a 2yr old!!! SEE BELOW!

Ugh... So many people FREAK OUT about cold meds... My daughter is alive and well because I went by weight as suggested by the pedi that I've known my entire life. He gave me a chart to follow. She's now 7. My son... Had a super wicked cold and would NOT sleep because he couldn't breathe. New pedi said "NO WAY!" (sadly old one passed away) I looked at the chart my trusted family pedi of 30+ years... I still go by that. But I did aske the Pharmacist if it's the same meds that they had 7/8yrs ago... He said they were and agreed with me on the doseage for my 2yr old son for age and height.

Also, the Advil Cold & Sinus (or store brand) is said to be safe for 2yr olds and up... Says it right on the package. It's behind the Pharmacy counter because there's Pseudoephedrine in it. All it is... It's Pseudoephedrine and Motrin combined for stuffy head/nose and fever.

Any questions, PM me. My hubby calls me "Dr. Mom" all the time. Lol. He reluctantly admits that I'm right most of the time when it comes to illness and meds that help.

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answers from Indianapolis on

NO! Please do not give her cough and cold medication.

Please also consult either AAP.org (website for the American Academy of Pediatrics) or HealthyChildren.com (AAP's parenting website).

There were serious issues with overdosage, and the FDA changed the indications (approved uses) for Cough/Cold medications to 6 and older to prevent serious side effects.

Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry almost a decade, I strongly encourage you to follow the advised recommendations and to simply manage her symptoms as best as possible with Tylenol/ibuprofen. It's hard to see your child struggle, our son is dealing with a bad cough right now, but the risks are too great.

Good luck.

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answers from Honolulu on

Baby Vick's is less intense....

The dosage for under 6 year old kids, are not on the box, because of over medication and human error or fears of over dosage... and because a baby's or young Toddler's body cannot process/handle regular dosages.

That said, some Doc's will suggest Benadryl...in small doses.

BUT, if you go to natural food stores/Whole Foods etc., there are Homeopathic type cold medicines for kids.... maybe for babies or under 6 year old kids.
There is also something called "Little Noses" which is a nasal decongestant for children, and other types of cold syrups for children.
Hyland's also makes cold/cough syrups for kids.

all the best,

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answers from New York on

i am very confused too about cold medicines and my kids are older, 6 yrs. i dread coming down with colds because i don't know what to give.
for example sudafed. the pharmacist says it's the same medicine as a few years ago when parents were giving it to their children with ped's office and now it's pulled and behind pharmacist counter. i asked why? and pharmacist said because people are making drugs with them
ok how is that my concern or my problem? i just don't understand
so i did give my 5 (almost 6)yr old daughter sudafed a few months ago, while scared to death. and it helped, cleared her nose and sinuses for 6-8 hours. of course by the time i decided to go ahead and give it to her, she had already developed an ear infection.
so i don't kniw just wanted to say i am mad as hell too about not being unclear why not safe and why safe


answers from Myrtle Beach on

At 2 I wouldn't definitely not do that!! I would just do the baby vicks, and a vaporizer! Try putting the vicks on her feet with socks covering! That always helped my little girl, I thought it was silly when I heard that, but I do for myself now! Works better than on the chest, not sure the logic on it, but it does!
I hope she feels better soon!



answers from Boise on

The reason that they don't give cough suppressants is because they don't clear their throats or cough to clear the mucus on their own. I wouldn't give it to my child.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Are you open to trying more natural solutions that are safe and much healthier for your daughter? We use essential oils and homeopathy for our kids. They work so great, and have no negative side effects like potential liver/kidney failure. For stuffiness, we mix eucalyptus oil with some almond oil and rub it on their chests. They love the scent, and it helps them go right to sleep without breathing issues. We also use homeopathic pulsatilla to ease stuffiness. You can PM me if you have any other specific symptoms you need help with. Or, your local health food store should be a great help to you.



answers from Kansas City on

call the pediatrician. ours gave us dosages by weight for daughter, especially for benedryl since she's had a lot of problems with seasonal allergies.


answers from Dover on

When in doubt...check w/ your doctor. Every kids is different and it is better safe than sorry when it comes to our kids safety.

That said, I have an 18 yr old son and a 3 yr old daughter. When I had to get her cough medicine, I was confident in what I was choosing. My hubby was not (he met me when my son was 3 so this was new to him).

If using Vicks, you may want to put on her feet not her chest. That is some potent stuff. You are better off to use a vaporizer.

Next question: Cough Med for My 42Lb 3 Year Old....