500-Plus Deaths Annually Associated with Children's Cough and Cold Medicine

Research published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal, Pediatrics, reveals that there is an estimated 500 pediatric deaths a year associated with children's cold and cough medicine.

"Up until this new research, officials assumed that there were only three or four deaths a year from these medications" says Dr. Jeffery L.  Chamberlain, the family doctor and co-founder of Honey Don't Cough, who performed the mathematical extrapolation. "Deaths have been drastically underreported because when a child gets sick and dies, doctors assume that the death was solely related to the illness itself. Typically, no one thinks to check for toxic medications that could have contributed to the death."

Doctors and child advocates are pushing for government intervention. 

Dr. Mary Ellen Rimsza, lead author of the article, "Unexpected Infant Deaths Associated With the Use of Cough and Cold Medications," and chair of the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program, writes, "We have suggested that our state Medicaid program initiate a public education campaign regarding the risks associated with use of over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines since poor, publicly insured families may be more likely to give these products to their infants."