This site is intended for health professionals only
The US government is warning parents not to give cough and cold medicines to children under the age of two without authorisation from a doctor.
The move comes as part of an overall review into the safety of these medicines and their suitability for treating youngsters.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory that some children, especially those two and younger, have experienced serious side-effects after receiving excessive doses of over-the-counter medications for coughs and colds.
The FDA is now urging all parents to carefully follow the directions that come with the medicines.
The organisation has stressed that cough and cold treatments can come in different strengths, and if parents have any doubts about how much medicine to give a child, they should seek medical advice.
In addition, they are also being warned of the dangers of giving youngsters these medications if they are already taking other drugs, and not to give youngsters products that are designed for adults.
Parents have also been told that if the product comes in liquid form, they should use the measuring device which comes with it to ensure they are giving their child the recommended dose.
The FDA said its Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee will meet in October to further discuss the benefits and risks associated with children taking cough and cold drugs.