Coughing is the body’s attempt to expel an irritating substance that has entered the respiratory tract. Many coughs are caused by viral infections, such as the common cold. If a child has a viral infection there are no medications that can make the infection go away.
While years ago parents routinely gave young children over the counter cold and cough medications, the FDA doesn’t recommend over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines for children younger than 4. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, CHPA represents the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, supports the safe and effective use of pediatric cough and cold medicines for children age 4 and older. Parents and nannies should carefully read all manufacturer’s instructions and consult with their healthcare provider before dispensing over the counter medication to young children.
You can help to keep a coughing child comfortable by offering liquids, propping the child’s head up so the nasal passages can drain more easily and by turning on a cool-mist humidifier. Infants should not have their heads propped up on a pillow in the crib; however the child’s pediatrician may recommend you place a pillow underneath the mattress to create a slight elevation.