At What Age Can Babies take OTC Cough Syrup?

When your 8-month-old baby has an irritating cough, you may wonder if it is okay to give cough syrup. However, over-the counter cough syrups are strongly discouraged for children before the age of 2 years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even children as old as 4 years old should not take these medications, as serious medical complications may occur. Still, there are several ways to soothe your infant's irritation and discomfort.

Fluid Recommendations

Administer warm, clear fluids to your 8-month-old baby four or more times a day. Clear apple juice or water is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If your infant is still breastfeeding, increase the feedings. Increased fluids may soothe your child's throat.

Moist Air

When your infant is having frequent episodes of coughing, take him to the bathroom. Turn on the shower to high heat. Shut the door and do not turn on the vent, then allow the bathroom to steam up. Keep your baby in the steamy bathroom for about 30 minutes. The increased moisture in the air may decrease coughing spasms.

Medical Intervention

In rare circumstances, severe coughing is a sign that your infant has contracted whooping cough, also known as "pertussis." Children under the age of 1 often contract the upper respiratory infection because they have not completed their entire round of vaccinations. The condition causes a severe hacking cough. After the cough, the next intake of breath creates a "whoop" sound. Other signs of pertussis include watery eyes, thick sputum, a mild fever and extreme fatigue.


Honey is often recommended to soothe a child's cough. However, honey should never be administered to an 8-month-old infant. Consuming honey at this age may cause the child to develop botulism, a serious condition. Instead, you must wait until your child is 1 year old before she can take a spoonful of honey.

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