Nyquil is an OTC cold medication that contains drugs such as acetaminophen (pain/fever reliever), dextromethorphan (cough suppressant), and doxylamine succinate (antihistamine). It constricts the blood vessels and blocks the histamine action in the body to provide temporary relief from cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose, and sneezing (1). Mothers like to give it because it gives symptomatic relief. However, there are many ifs and buts.
This drug does not require a doctor’s prescription, but you might want to know if it is safe to be used on children. In this post, MomJunction tells you about the safety of Nyquil for kids, its side-effects, and precautions to take while using the drug.
Is Nyquil Safe For Children?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that OTC cold and cough medications should not be given to infants under the age of two, because these products contain decongestant and antihistamine drugs, which can cause convulsions, rapid heartbeat, diminishing consciousness, and possible death (2).
So, at what age can you give Nyquil to children?
According to the manufacturer’s (Vicks) website, Nyquil should not be given to children under the age of 12 years. However, they suggest giving Children’s Nyquil to children aged between six and 11, and to children aged four to six only if prescribed by the doctor (3).
Children’s Nyquil Dosage Chart
|12 years and above||30ml every six hours|
|Six to 12 years||15 ml every six hours|
|Four to six years||Consult your doctor for dosage recommendations|
|Under the age of four||Do not use Nyquil (4)|
In any case, make sure that you do not give more than four doses in 24 hours (5).
Note: Always use the dosage cup that comes with the medicine. And do not increase the dosage as excess acetaminophen can cause liver damage (1).
Even though the dosage instructions are mentioned on the label, it is good to consult your doctor before giving any medicine to your child. This helps you avoid overdosing, which can harm the child’s health.
Possible Side Effects Of Nyquil
Children’s Nyquil may also have a few side-effects, such as drowsiness and excitability (1).
Other possible side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth, nose, or throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
These side effects may or may not occur, depending upon the child. But if you notice any of the symptoms in your child, then take them to a doctor.
Also, some kids can be allergic to Nyquil and develop the following symptoms upon taking the drug.
- Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
- Swelling in face, throat, and mouth
- Feeling of dryness
If you spot any of the above allergic reactions in your child, then stop giving the medicine and take them to the doctor (6).
Does Nyquil Make The Child Sleepy?
Nyquil might cause drowsiness in children. The child may feel sleepy. It should always be given under supervision.
However, this medication should never be given to help a healthy child sleep. If children are given Nyquil when they are not sick, it could lead to Nyquil dependency and can cause withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Nyquil (6).
Precautions To Take While Administering Nyquil For Kids
- Never give your child more than the recommended dosage at a time. Even if you miss a dose, give them the prescribed dose, but not more, the next time. Never administer two doses at once or give more than the recommended dosage.
- Always measure the medicine with the measuring cup or dispenser you get with it.
- Nyquil can only relieve the symptoms of cold and flu and does not cure them. This fact should be kept in perspective. So, it can take about five to seven days for the cold to subside. However, in this course of time, if the symptoms worsen or new symptoms occur, then take your child to the doctor.
- Your child must get enough rest and fluids when they have a cold.
Before going for Nyquil, try out the alternative measures, such as using a bulb syringe to suck out the mucus, or encourage your child to blow their nose. Running a warm shower in your child’s room may help in easing the symptoms (7).
Children can easily catch a cold or flu. So, make it a habit for them to wash their hands whenever needed, as a precaution. Also, ensure that your child is vaccinated against infections. Cold and flu spread by droplet infection. So in schooland day care centers, make sure the children cover their nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing. This is specially true in cold weather.
Have you been using Children’s Nyquil? Tell us about it in the section below.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for a doctor’s consultation. Do not use any medication without talking to your doctor.
2. Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids; The US Food and Drug Administration
3. Vicks Nyquil FAQ; The official Vicks website
4. Vicks Children’s Nyquil Cold and Cough Multi-symptom relief; Dailymed
5. Vicks NyQuil Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief Original Flavor Liquid 8 fl oz; smartlabel
6. Nyquil Addiction and Abuse; Addiction Center
7. Help for a Child with a Cold; Stanford Children’s Hospital
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