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How To Buy The Right Kids' Medicine

Tips For Medicine Shopping

Dr. Deanna Minich Profile Photo

Written by Dr. Deanna Minich on June 6, 2021

Every kid gets colds from time to time. In fact, most kids get a few colds every year, especially when they start school and begin regularly interacting with other children.

When their kids start to show the symptoms of a cold, many parents turn to cough or cold medicine to help alleviate their symptoms. It’s a good instinct, but far too many kids’ medication brands found in the pharmacy aisle of your local store have some industry-wide issues with their ingredients: many kids' medicine brands simply include unnecessary inactive ingredients that don’t really offer any benefit.

That said, it can be tough even for well-meaning parents to find the right kids’ medicine. As a physician, advisor and partner of Genexa, the only clean medicine company, I think it’s critical for parents to know what’s in their kids' medicines. This guide will break down exactly what to look for in the best medicine for your child, plus point out some red flags or ingredients to avoid.

The Risks of Medicine for Kids

When children get sick, so many parents give them medicine as their first solution that it’s become an ingrained part of our society. But in reality, kids don’t strictly need cold medicine. After all, cold medicine doesn’t help stop a cold -- it just alleviates most of their uncomfortable symptoms while the immune system defeats the virus causing the cold in the first place.

Most modern cold medicines are tested (and their dosages calculated for) using adults. It’s a big problem in the pharmaceutical industry, especially since kids have smaller bodies and different metabolisms compared to adults.

Furthermore, many parents don’t understand medicine dosage well enough. This sometimes leads them to giving their kids too much cold medicine when their symptoms become more severe, leading to unfortunate (but preventable) side effects.

In general, remember the following guidelines:

  • Kids under the age of two should never be given over-the-counter or OTC cold or cough medicine without the guidance of a pediatrician
  • Kids over the age of three can be given some cold medicines, but only in precise and small dosages, and sparingly
  • Kids over the age of six can handle OTC medicines better, but you should still follow dosing guidelines exactly

Things To Look for in Kids’ Medicine

Even with the downsides with many common kids’ cold medicine brands, there are powerful clean kids’ medicines available that come with fewer potential side effects due to their ingredients or formulas. Let’s break down what you should look for in safe, effective cold and cough medicine for your kids.

Clean Ingredients and No Extra Chemicals

For starters, be sure that any kids' medicine you purchase is made with clean and effective ingredients above all else.

Far too many pharmaceutical companies put their medicine together using unnecessary and even potentially harmful chemical additives. Most of these ingredients are not necessary for the beneficial effects of the formula– they might be added just to increase shelf life or even just to add a pop of color to the syrup.

Genexa is different. As a clean medicine company, they’re an organization dedicated to helping families find effective but safe medicine for their children without settling for tons of unnecessary artificial ingredients in the process.

For instance, their Kids’ Cold Crush formula can alleviate most of the major symptoms kids experience with common colds. But, it only has a handful of ingredients, such as Allium cepa to take care of runny noses or nasal discharge and Aconitum napellus, which helps with dry and wet coughs alike.

It doesn’t have a ton of unnecessary ingredients to pad out the label on the back of each bottle.

It’s strongly recommended that you target medicine like this for your child if you want to help them deal with cold symptoms using well-known homeopathic ingredients that work.

Good Dosages

It’s also a good idea to make sure that the kids' medicine in question has appropriate dosage levels. Remember, many medicines “made” for kids are actually tested on adults since it’s tough to run clinical trials on minors.

Companies like Genexa make their kids medicine with accurate dosage levels in mind. For example, kids under the age of 11 should take two chewable Kids’ Cold Crush medicine tablets. Kids can take another two tablets every six hours until the cold symptoms have vanished. Nice and easy, right?

Check the Manufacturer’s History

If you’re looking at a new medicine brand, do some research into the manufacturer’s history before making a purchase. In many cases, you can tell whether the medicine will be a good choice for your child if it’s formulated by a company with your best interests in mind.

Avoid big pharmaceutical companies when possible. They’re more often concerned with the bottom line above all else and their medicine offerings are more likely to produce problems when given to your child.

Look for companies that put people first instead.

Medicines to Avoid

Just like there are things to look for in kids' medicine, there are also some medicines you should avoid at all costs.


No matter what your child’s symptoms are, you should never give them aspirin. Aspirin can cause serious issues when given to a child in the midst of a viral illness, including the flu or chickenpox. In some cases, aspirin can even cause Reye's syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition that may progress into a coma.

Unfortunately, many common OTC medicines for treating nausea and headaches contain a small amount of aspirin. Therefore, it’s important to read the labels on the back of every bottle to check for aspirin before giving any to your child.

Aspirin is sometimes found under alternative names, including salicylate and acetylsalicylate. Consult with your doctor or pediatrician before giving your child a new headache medication just to be safe.

Adult Medicines

Of course, you should never give your child any medicine in a dose intended for adults.

It’s always preferable to go for a kid-specific medicine since it’ll be formulated and proportioned with their smaller bodies and underdeveloped immune systems in mind. Even a small amount of adult medicine may contain ingredients that are dangerous for kids to ingest in any amount.


One of those potentially risky ingredients is codeine, which is a kind of opiate used in some adult medications. The FDA specifically recommends against giving your child any prescription cough medicines that include codeine or another opiate, hydrocodone, as these ingredients can cause health issues in children under the age of 18, including possible dependency/addiction.


All in all, buying the best medicine for your child is an exercise in patience and research. It’ll likely take a little time to find the best medicine brand for your little ones if you want to help them get through common colds without having to endure through tons of coughing or sneezing.

Alternatively, you can check out Genexa’s kids' medicine selection! This clean medicine company is different from the pharmaceutical giants that dominate the industry. Instead of making medicine filled with unnecessary artificial ingredients, Genexa is dedicated to providing healthful, clean remedies for you and your family. Check out what they offer today!


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