The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday warned parents against giving non-prescription cough and cold remedies to children under the age of two because possibly life-threatening side effects.
"The FDA strongly recommends to parents and caregivers that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be used for children younger than two," said Charles Ganley, a physician who runs the FDA's Office of Nonprescription Products.
"These medicines, which treat symptoms and not the underlying condition, have not been shown to be safe or effective in children under two," he said of the widely available, commercially sold medicines.
The popular cold remedies include decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines, cough suppressants and other cold medications.
The FDA said a variety of rare, but potentially serious side effects in children can result from the use of such products, including convulsions, rapid heart rates and decreased levels of consciousness.