When it comes to giving sick babies and toddlers over-the-counter (OTC) medication, it’s important to consult your pediatrician, especially the first time, or if your little one is using more than one medication at a time. While not a substitute for medical advice, the information in this article can help you familiarize yourself with common OTC medications that treat a variety of baby and toddler ailments.
Liquids for Fever and Pain Relief
If your child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever, a call to your pediatrician is in order. With the littlest ones, it’s always important to investigate fevers.
Acetaminophen has been used for generations to treat fevers and relieve pain. It may come in different concentrations, so be sure to read the dosing instructions very carefully.
While some think that aspirin and Tylenol are the same, they are actually very different. Never give a baby or toddler aspirin, as it could cause Reyes Syndrome, which is a rare disease that affects the brain and liver.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Ibuprofen is suitable for children age 6 months or older. It is slightly more powerful and longer-lasting than acetaminophen. Keep in mind that it may upset your little one’s tummy, especially if he isn’t eating well due to poor appetite.
Cough and Cold Medications
At this time, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend cough and cold medications for babies and toddlers. Not only have they not been proven affective for little ones, they may cause harm. The AAP recommends instead that you use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and/or pain, a cool mist vaporizer for congestion, and a simple bulb syringe and nasal spray to relieve a stuffy nose. Plenty of liquids and TLC help, too!
Simethicone (Mylicon or Little Tummys)
Simethicone is used for intestinal gas or pain associated with gas. There is some debate amongst doctors on the effectiveness of this medication, but it is considered safe to use in the proper dosage.
Electrolyte Solution (Pedialyte)
This is great to have around if your little one is suffering from a stomach virus and you’re worried about dehydration. Electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte, come ready-to-drink or in powder form to be mixed with water. These drinks help replenish your baby or toddler with the vitamins and minerals he may have lost from severe diarrhea or vomiting.
Creams and Lotions
Triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin)
As your child starts to become more mobile, he’s bound to get a few scratches every now and again. Neosporin is recommended for children age 2 years or older. Doctors advise that products like Neosporin can potentially cause an allergic reaction for babies. Instead, for babies with scrapes, cuts, or scratches, try to keep the wound clean and apply products like Aquaphor Healing Ointment for Babies.
Diaper Rash Cream
Of course, no baby medicine cabinet is complete without diaper rash cream! Ones that contain zinc oxide are recommended, because the zinc oxide acts as a barrier between your child’s diaper and his skin. Fragrance free is best, as fragrances may sting irritated skin.
As healthy as we try to keep our little ones, baby and toddler ailments happen, and occasional use of OTC medications can help them feel more comfortable.