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Let's Talk Babies!

We are now in the midst of cold and flu season, and every parent knows how hard it is to console and comfort a sick baby.  Often we have no idea what to do for our poor little ones, how to make it all better.  We know that for us medicine often does the trick, pop a few aspirin or a cold medicine and you good to go.  But since your baby can’t really tell you exactly what is hurting or doesn’t feel good giving medicine can be the wrong thing to do.

When it comes to medicine and babies the best thing to do is to talk to your pediatrician.  Find out what he recommends for babies, what dosage to give at what age, and when he thinks it is appropriate to administer medicine.  A good rule of thumb is to make a call to the pediatrician’s office anytime you are in doubt about giving your baby medicine.  By making a quick call and talking to the nurses in the office you can find out if a little infant’s Tylenol will do the trick or if you should really make a trip into the office to have the baby examined.

There are a few medicines that should be strictly avoided and never given to a baby (unless directed to by your pediatrician).  They include:

  • Aspirin (aka salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid) as it makes your baby more susceptible to Reyes syndrome (which could be fatal).  If in doubt if something contains aspirin ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Over the counter cough or cold medicines (even infant varieties).  In 2007 the FDA recommended that these medications not be given to children under the age of 6 due to a risk of overdosing.
  • Anti-nausea medication unless directed to by your pediatrician.
  • Any adult medication.  Infant and children’s forms of medication are designed and dosed for their bodies.
  • Any medication prescribed to another person.  The only prescription medication your child or baby should be taking are those prescribed to her by her pediatrician.
  • Any medication that has expired.  Read the labels carefully and throw away any expired medications you may have in your home.
  • Extra acetaminophen.  If you have given your baby Tylenol be sure to read the labels of any other medication you may give him to ensure that it does not also contain acetaminophen to avoid the risk of overdose.
  • Herbal remedies.  Be sure to check with your pediatrician prior to giving your baby any herbal remedies.  Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe.

A lot of this may seem like common sense but unfortunately an alarming number of babies are seen in emergency rooms every year because of overdoses on medication.  Always consult your pediatrician prior to administering any new medication, or if you are in doubt about something.  It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your children.

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