Experts say side effects in children from cough and cold medications are a public health issue. According to the journal Pediatrics, most children's ER visits for side effects associated with taking cough and cold medications result from unsupervised ingestion, meaning children are taking the medications themselves without parental help.
Investigators say more than 7,000 children annually visit ERs for side effects of cough and cold meds. Overall, 66 percent of the estimated ER visits were attributed to unsupervised ingestion of the meds. It was most common among children between the ages of 2 and 5 years.