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Please Don’t Drug Your Babies October 12, 2007


A recent article in the New York Times said that companies making infant cold and cough medicines are recalling some of their products after numerous reports of hallucinations, misuse and deaths in children under the age of six who consumed infant decongestants and antihistamines.

Safety reviewers from the Food and Drug Association urged the agency to make a ban on all infant cough and cold medicines, including Robitussin Infant Cough DM Drops, Triaminic Infant and Tylenol Concentrated Infant Drops Plus Cold and Cough. But companies are still selling the drugs, and pharmacies are buying them.

Chances are, the pharmacies will keep buying them until they are banned – if that ever happens. A group of outside experts are going to meet in the next few weeks to give recommendations to the FDA. I have a feeling the drug companies will have a few recommendations of their own. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who’s voice is louder.

Personally, the FDA’s final say on the matter won’t affect my sentiments on the matter. I think you should try your hardest to keep your kids off these drugs. Sometimes, it’s inevitable – usually that’s when you’ve already had to go the pediatrician, however.

The thing is, I remember taking the exact recommended dosage of Robitussin and similar drugs when I used to catch a lot of colds back in high school.

And man, that stuff gets you high.

Another New York Times article discussed how homeopathic, over-the-counter cough and cold medicine is becoming more popular, but consumers should still be careful – many drug companies are giving themselves the label of ‘natural’ without really having anything natural in them. It’s a similar phenomena to the whole organic food situation in the U.S.A today: looking the other way and stamping the seal of approval.

But there are other alternative options to popular infant drops: before Tylenol ruled the drug stores, people used natural, non-hallucinogenic methods to help alleviate their children’s ailments.

Here are a few leads on alternatives:

An article in Mother Nature describes making elder, yarrow root tea to reduce fevers and peppermint tea for upset stomach in children.

Preventative medicine is important for kids too. Herbs for Kids reports that Echinacea root, Hyssop, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme, Lemongrass and Ginger root are all beneficial for a child’s immunity to cold’s and coughs (though a recent study from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine say that there is no evidence that Echinacea is beneficial for children.)

There are more remedies, and I will keep adding them to the list. Feel free to add your own.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that there is no cure for the common cold – whether your child is filled with antihistamines or elder flower. All the the remedies can do is knock the kid out or alleviate the pain (p.s. elder flower will not knock out your child. Chamomile, however, has been known to help relax people and therefore lead to better sleep..).

NOTE: The mother of the cute baby boy in the picture posted a lot of useful information about natural remedies to children’s colds. I recommend you read it.


One Response to “Please Don’t Drug Your Babies”

  1. Robin Says:

    Hi Shuks,
    Well, I hope you’re ready for a rant. Can you believe that some babysitters and even day care centers have been known to use cough syrup and other over the counter drugs to sedate children while their parents are away? It gives me the heebie geebies. Anyway, that’s not what your article is about. The fact is that we can not trust the FDA or anyone else to protect us from the pharmaceutical industry, nor the agro industry nor the food processing industry for that matter. But there is another way. At the moment Liam has a little cold. Not much of a surprise since the cold weather just arrived. As far as prevention goes I should be keeping him covered in warm clothing but he has a tendency to undress himself often, especially to take off his shoes, except the orange hiking boots, but they get wet, etc… Also for prevention, don’t forget to wash their hands often. And don’t keep the inside of the house overheated when it’s cold outside. As far as remedies it’s hard for me to say because we don’t have the same products here (in France) as there but it’s about the same. One time we tried a cough sirop on the recommendation of a pediatrician and Liam couldn’t walk straight. He kept on falling all the time and hurting himself. After only two days we stopped giving it to him because it was clear that the medicine was hurting him more than the cough. When he has a bad cough we give him a cough sirop made with ivy and also propolis (even though it gets him all excited) as well as a homeopathic treatment usually prescribed by a homeopathic doctor (there are lots of them here). For colds I give him Herbs for Kids echinacea and astragalus, propolis and copper. We have something here called oligo elements. They’re usually in little single dose glass bottles and there are all kinds of elements. I give Liam copper when it’s cold season and when he was little I would clean out his nose with a mixture of saline solution copper and silver. At the moment I am doing a treatment myself where I take copper silver and gold in the morning (no it’s not expensive at all) and then I take magnesium and lithium in the evening. But that’s another story. There is another product in US that I haven’t tried but would like to which is “Wellness for Kids”. I think it might be efective because I know that Wellness Formula (for adults) worked very well for me through out high school and college. Maybe if you see some you can send it to us. As far as herbal teas go…. there are tons of plants to choose from but make sure it’s one that is safe for kids, such as elder or camomille. Liam loves herbal tea, especially when there’s a little honey in it. Sometimes I also give him a little piece of an acerola vitamin C tablet not too much of course. He thinks it’s candy. Which reminds me….when they’re sick it’s always good to cut back on refined sugar, white flour, grease and all that stuff. Fresh veggies and fruits are the best but often they won’t have much appetite. It’s better not to force them. And of course give them plenty of water. I have a great remedy for the stomache flu (vomiting, diarrea, fever) Alternate Arsenicum Album 9ch and Nux Vomica 9ch every 3 to 4 hours untill they start getting better then if they are still having diarrea after the vomiting is over give them China Rubia 9ch 3 times a day. And lots of water! Of course check with a doctor if a “stomache flu” lasts for more than 24 to 48 hours or if there are any strange symptoms. Last of all I would like to say that I have given Liam tylenol type drugs in severe cases when he had high fever (if it’s not too bad give them Belladonna in homeopathie) or was in a lot of pain and really needed sleep. However I would like to draw attention to the fact that many (US) pain killers for children including tylenol and generic and also certain multivitamines contain aspartame which has been linked to ADD and hyperactivity, especially in kids. Always check the labels for ingredients as well as possible side effects and allergies. Well, I’m putting all this out there because I hope that maybe it can help somebody. My son is 3 years old and has never taken antibiotics despite having ear infections, strep throat, tonsilitis and bronchitis. He has always healed naturally. Don’t believe the doctors/people who say “You HAVE to give them antibiotics. There’s no other way” unless it’s something really really serious. Kids are a bit more fragile than adults but they also regenerate much better than we do. And it is very true what you say Shuka, a lot of times you just got to let them be sick, let it take it’s course. Make sure they get plenty of rest and a lot of love and they’ll be fine. The medecations are really just to make us, the parents, feel better. Drugs are not for kids. Thank you Shuka for writing.
    Love, Robin

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