By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with Dr. Angelia Chua, Consultant Family Physician, NHGP.

Are Over-the-Counter Meds Safe?

'Medicine used to treat fever and aches such as paracetamol, acetaminophen and ibuprofen' can be given to children under two, but you should always check with your doctor first before feeding any medicine, especially if you are giving the medicine to your toddler for the first time.

Over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines are not recommended for children younger than two. They may have serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.

Related: Why Are Clean Hands Important for Children

What about Home Remedies?

Home remedies may help your child get over a cough or a cold, but check with your doctor first as some of the ingredients may not be suitable for children. Honey, for example, is a popular ingredient to soothe a sore throat, but make sure to discuss with the doctor first before administering it to your child.

Related: Dangers of Illegal Health Products Posing as Natural or Traditional Cures

Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

1. Stopping a dose of antibiotics

A course of antibiotics isn’t the same as a bottle of cough syrup. You don’t stop taking it just because your condition has improved. Your little one is getting better, but that does not mean it’s okay to stop giving your baby antibiotics. Listen to your doctor when he says, “Finish this course of antibiotics.” This makes sure that all the bacteria are eradicated!

2. Wrong measurements

Children’s medicine is usually prescribed based on their weight, and not their age. Every tiny measurement that is off can actually do more harm than good to your baby. 1 ml might seem an insignificant amount, but if you factor your kid’s tiny proportions in, that’s no laughing matter. Make sure to be precise when giving medications to your little one!

3. Being impatient or forgetful

If the instructions say to give the medicine every 6 hours, make sure you wait 6 hours, not 4 or 5. Can’t remember when was the last time you gave junior his medicine? Play it safe and wait it out. It might also be a good idea to start writing it down so you don’t forget, or set an alarm to remind you when’s the next dose.

4. Mixing medications

You’ve been given the all-clear on a particular medication to treat a cold by your doctor. You’ve also used another medicine to treat your baby’s fever. That does not mean you can use both medicines together. Check with your doctor first and let him know if you already are giving any medicine to your kid, or if you plan to.

5. Mixing East and West

The same goes for traditional Chinese medicine. There might be very adverse effects if you give your child both Chinese and Western medicine. This isn’t a case of “best of both worlds” for your baby.

Related: Do You Really Need Antibiotics?

Sometimes, Bed Rest and Fluids Work Best

Cough, cold and fever are common illnesses that every child will face growing up. What your little one needs most when feeling slightly under the weather is plenty of fluids and rest. Remember to keep your baby hydrated (e.g. with frequent small sips of water) and make sure that baby dearest gets all the rest he needs!

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.