The cold and cough medications are commonly used to treat the symptoms of cough and colds in all ages. However, in contemporary times, research studies have indicated that children below the age of 12 are sensitive to these drugs.
The overdose and exposure of young children to CCM may result in serious side effects, such as drowsiness, weakness, and in some cases, it may cause the death of a child.
In recent times, the manufacturers of cough and cold medications have recommended avoiding the use of cough and cold medications in young children. You may have observed these changes in the packaging of these medications, which have undergone changes from 2008 and on other public health awareness sites.
Researchers from Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado conducted a study on the fatalities of children below the age of 12 due to cold medication.
According to the report published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers reviewed 180 cases of child fatalities after exposure to cold and cough medications from 2008 to 2016 and determined whether the causes of fatalities and the intent of exposure of children to these medications. Out of the 180 fatalities, the researchers selected 40 cases that were potentially related to cough and cold medications.
The report indicates that the majority of the children who died from cold and cough medicine were under the age of 2 and 55 percent of these cases involved exposure to drugs provided to these children without the intent to treat a cold or cough. Hence, the research indicates that in the majority of the cases, the exposure to CCM was intentional. These drugs were provided to children with malicious intent, either to put the child to sleep or to cause any deliberate harm to the children.
In an accompanying commentary, the researchers noted that the most common ingredient of CCM, which is responsible for fatalities in children, is diphenhydramine. This ingredient is used in the medicines such as children’s Benadryl and children’s Mucinex. These medications were provided to children either to sedate the child or to intentionally murder the child.
Similarly, a study was conducted on non-malicious ingestions. These include cases in which a child is exposed to drugs and other substances such as chemicals, alcohols, fumes, cleaning agents, and other gases for non-therapeutic purposes. These exposures may prove fatal for the young child.
Young children are vulnerable and depend on their caregivers for their safety. Therefore, it is imperative to take substantial measures to ensure their safety and security.
As proved from the report that the caregivers may negligently or with malicious intent provide exposure to children to cold and cough medications and other harmful substances, which may cause extreme side effects and in some cases may prove fatal.
In order to prevent these cases, there is a need for continued targeted intervention to promote medication safety. Similarly, it is important to prevent child abuse and investigate the caregivers who are causing deliberate harm to the children.