EDITORIAL: Caution best approach to cold medicine usage

Late-night sniffles and cough-ridden cooing may no longer be soothed by popular cold medicines such as Toddler’s Dimetapp or Triaminic.

Last week some of the major manufacturers of cold and cough medicines voluntarily recalled more than a half-dozen different medicines used to treat infants.

This action, which the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says stems from concern for “potential misuse of the medicines,” has parents and health officials wondering if these medicines should even be allowed.

As a generation who grew up cringing every time mom reached for the shot-glass-sized medicine vial, it’s hard to imagine not treating our children with the same medicines.

But what if these medicines are the cause of so many lost lives?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past two years negative reactions to cold medicine have caused 1,500 infants and toddlers to visit emergency rooms.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration reported that between 1969 and 2006, 123 children died from decongestants and antihistamines.

On Thursday officials from the FDA will meet to discuss the safety and effectiveness of these medicines. Until they give the final word, it’s up to the parents whether their child’s cold is worth risking his or her life.

We think measures need to be taken to ensure these medicines aren’t harming children.

Outlawing treatment for infants and toddlers altogether seems a bit extreme. Instead, take precautions to warn parents about possible consequences and increase regulations to prevent overdosing.

After all, we received similar, if not the exact same, remedies when we were young, and we’re still here.