What Not to Do
"Never use old-parent remedies like blowing into one of the baby's nostrils to clear the other nostril," says Dr. Conway. "This is potentially dangerous and should not be done." She also emphasizes never using over-the-counter medicine without consulting a physician first. For example, never use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for reducing fever in an infant less than 2 months of age, she warns, because fever in this age group can be secondary to neonatal-acquired infections that can be of late onset and potentially devastating. "As a result, any fever greater than 100.4 should not be treated by parents at home and the baby should be evaluated immediately (if less than 2 months of age) by a physician."
If you're thinking your cold remedy would work for your child, think twice. "Most pediatricians do not feel comfortable giving antihistamines/decongestants to children less than a year old," says Dr. Conway. "Studies suggest that while these medicines help dry nasal passages in adults, their only benefit in the young child is that of sedation. Further, the effects of pseudoephedrine for nasal congestion have not been widely studied in very young children. It is known to cause increased heart rate and raise the diastolic blood pressure of adults who take it. It is therefore not recommended for children less than 1 year of age."
Medication, such as nasal decongestants, often "wires the babies up and then you have a snotty awake baby instead of a snotty sleeping one," adds Dr. Brown.