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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children
(OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a doctor's prescription. This
doesn't mean that OTC medicines are harmless. Like prescription medicines, OTCs
can be very dangerous for children if not taken the right way.
sure to read the package instructions on these medicines carefully. Talk to
your doctor or pharmacist before giving OTC medicines to young children.
Here are some safety tips for parents and other caregivers:
Studies show that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines
don't work very well. Some of these medicines can cause problems if used too
much. These medicines don't cure the cold or cough. And they don't help your
child get better faster.
Use these medicines exactly as your doctor
says, and keep them out of children's reach.
This American Academy of Pediatrics website has information for parents about childhood issues, from before the child is born to young adulthood. You'll find information on child growth and development, immunizations, safety, health issues, behavior, and much more.
This website has tips for safe use of over-the-counter medicines for children and adults. It has information about drug labels, ingredients, drug interactions, and more.
This website has health information for
people of all ages. Topics include the following: medicines, food and nutrition, medical
devices, cosmetics, and animal health. Spanish materials are also
As part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control PROTECT Initiative, this website helps remind families to store all medicines and supplements out of sight and out of reach of children. You can also find other medicine safety tips on this site.
Other Works Consulted
Sullivan JE, et al. (2011). Clinical report: Fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics, 127(3): 580–587. Also available online:
January 22, 2013
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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