Survey in the emergency department of parents' understanding of cough and cold medication use in children younger than 2 years

Shawn M. Varney, Vikhyat S. Bebarta, Rebecca L. Pitotti, Toni E. Vargas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: In August 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public health advisory recommending that over-the-counter cough and cold medications (CCMs) not be used in children younger than 2 years. Our objective was to assess parents' awareness and understanding of the guidelines. METHODS: We surveyed caregivers of children younger than 2 years in the emergency department of an urban tertiary care military hospital where civilian patients are also treated. After completing the survey, caregivers received a handout explaining the FDA's recommendations. RESULTS: Our response rate was 99% (264/265). First-time parents constituted 45% (114/251) of responders. Education level was high school, 21%; some college, 36%; and college graduate, 40%. Thirty-one percent (77/247) were aware of the FDA guidelines. Of these 77, 44 (57%) reported the guidelines indicated CCMs were not safe in children younger than 2 years, and 18 (23%) said CCMs have caused death. Twenty-six percent (68/264) did not give CCMs to their children younger than 2 years, and 40% of these reported it was because of learning about the guidelines; 63% (165/264) reported CCMs were effective, 11% ineffective, and 27% did not know. Fifty-seven percent (151/263) reported CCMs were safe, 12% unsafe, and 31% unsure. Twenty-two percent (31/143) planned to use or continue to use CCMs in their children, 34% did not, 23% not sure, and 21% only if their doctor advised it. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of caregivers were not aware of the FDA guidelines on CCM use in children younger than 2 years. Most thought CCMs were safe and effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-885
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Food and Drug Administration guidelines
  • Public Health Advisory
  • cough and cold medications
  • infants
  • over-The-counter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine

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