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 Parents decision following the Food and Drug Administration recommendation: the case of over-the-counter cough and cold medication

Background In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended against parents administering over-the-counter cough and cold medications (OTC-CCM) to children under 2 years of age because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur. This study examined the impact of FDAs recommendations against giving children under 2 years old OTC-CCM. Methods We asked parents (n = 377) whether they knew of and trusted the FDA recommendations, as well as whether they intended to follow them.We also examined parentsknowledge, perceptions and behaviours with respect to OTC-CCM. Results About 33% of our sample had never heard of the FDA recommendations. Of those who were aware, 32.9% intended to continue administering OTC-CCM, and another 36.7% were not sure what to do. Our results indicate that parents who trust the FDA recommendations are significantly more likely to stop giving OTC-CCM to their children. However, almost half did not trust the FDA recommendations or were not sure whether to trust them. Our results indicate that parents whotrust the FDA recommendation are significantly more likely to discontinue using OTC-CCM. Our data also reveal that many parents give more than one drug simultaneously (32.9%),  annot identify the active ingredient(s) (28.9%) or fail to store the medications in a safe place (86.1%).Conclusion Parents confidence in the FDA recommendations predicted whether they would continue or stop administering OTC-CCM to their children. Our findings illustrate the urgent need for widespread public education about OTC-CCM products to ensure childrens safety