Some products sold for the treatment of baby problems are either superfluous or potentially harmful or both. If a baby’s problem persists or proves worrying then consult an expert. Read one of the many excellent volumes on baby care to ensure that you know what signs and symptoms to look out for.
The treatment of problems in older children is usually the same as the treatment of the same problems in adults except that dosages will differ. Always study the manufacturer’s recommended dosages before giving any medicines.
Cough and cold remedies
The following products for baby’s coughs and colds are available: Baby Cough Syrup, Buttercup Baby Cough Linctus, Cox’s Children’s Cherry Cough Linctus, Famel Children’s Cough Linctus, Galloway’s Junior Cough Linctus, Willocare Junior Expectorant and Wright’s Baby Cough Linctus .
I do not recommend any of these products which are unlikely to have any useful action in that in my opinion they do not contain sufficient medicament to effect a cure.
If a baby’s cough does not resolve after five days or if the baby has difficulty in breathing then consult a doctor. If a baby has the snuffles or seems congested, he may be helped if a kettle is boiled in the same room. Children over the age of six can, if necessary, be treated with reduced doses of adult mixtures. It is as practicable to decide on the dosage according to the child’s weight as on his age. Thus, a four-stone child should be given approximately half the normal adult dose.
A child who has diarrhoea should be treated in the same way as anyone else . A baby with diarrhoea may need medical attention earlier, since it is possible for a baby to become dehydrated remarkably quickly. I do not recommend any special mixtures. Child’s Diarrhoea Mixture contains, among other things, clioquinol which is discussed on p 110. Paediatric Kaolin Mixture BPC can be given in a dose of 5 ml to children under the age of one year and 10 ml to children over the age of one year. The dose can be repeated at four-hourly intervals, but it is more likely to make the parents feel better than the child.
Breast milk is obviously best for most babies since it was formulated by an expert and contains many valuable constituents not available in other types of milk (for example, a baby who is breast fed will be protected from infections by his mother’s antibodies).
However, it is a fact that for one reason or another many young mothers are not willing or able to feed their babies themselves, and there are a number of perfectly adequate replacements for breast milk.
Recommended proprietary milk foods for infants under six months of age include Baby milk Plus, Cow & Gate Premium Babjfood, Cow •& Gate V Formula, Ostermilk Complete Formula, SMA and Gold Cap SMA.
I do not recommend National Dried Milk for infants under six months of age.
Most babies have wind or indigestion occasionally. Usually the disorder can be treated without any medicine.
Sodium bicarbonate is included in many gripe remedies. It is a constituent of the following products: Atkinson and Barker’s Infant Gripe Mixture, Baby Gripe Mixture, Boots Gripe Mixture, Dinne-ford’s Gripe Mixture, Fennings’ Gripe Mixture, Gould’s Gripe Mixture, Maws Gripe Mixture, Nurse Harvey’s Gripe Mixture and Woodward’s Gripe Water. Some of these products also contain alcohol.
Calmic Gripe Mixture contains dimethicone which is intended to help relieve wind.
Merbentyl, a product often prescribed by doctors for griping pains in babies, contains dicyclomine hydrochloride which is an antispasmodic. Children under one year should be given 2.5 ml before feeds. Above one year, the dose can be increased to 5 ml up to three times a day.
OvolColic Drops contain both dimethicone and dicyclomine.
Any of these products can help and doctors often prescribe, as I have said, dicyclomine hydrochloride for griping pains, but these substances should only be used when the diagnosis is certain. Incidentally, babies who get wind during and after feeding are often being fed improperly – a young mother who cannot obtain advice from a female relative should consult her doctor or health visitor.
Persistent griping pains should be investigated by a doctor anyway.
To stop a baby developing a nappy rash, ensure that wet nappies are removed as soon as possible and washed and rinsed thoroughly. Disposable nappies are expensive but safe and convenient. Tightly fitting rubber or plastic pants help to encourage the development of a rash, nude crawling prevents it.
There are several useful treatments for nappy rash. Zinc and castor oil ointment is often all that is needed. It is available as Zinc and Castor Oil Ointment BPC or as Zincast Baby Cream, and there are other branded products available.
Dimetbicone Cream BPC may help, and there are a number of branded products which also contain silicone, a water repellent substance which can provide effective protection and prevent the development of a rash. These include Boots Nappj Cream, Neo Baby Cream, Steedman’s Nappy Cream and Vasogen. Unfortunately, Boots, Neo and Steedman’s all contain an antiseptic which may well be unnecessary and which may cause irritation, possibly potentially harmful, although medical opinion is divided on this point. Maws Baby Lotion, Moores Baby Cream, Natusan Baby Cream, Savlon Babjcare Cream or Woodward’s Baby Cream also contain antiseptics and Natusan contains boric acid which should be avoided since it can be toxic even when only applied to the skin.
Any nappy rash which persists after treatment for a week or ten days or which seems to be getting worse despite treatment can be treated more effectively by a doctor.
Paracetamol is a popular basis for children’s pain relieving remedies. The following products contain paracetamol: Calpol, De Witt’s Placidex, Febrilix, Fennings’ Children’s Cooling Powders, Hush, Panels Baby Syrup and Pirisol Junior Pain tablets. These products should be taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Paracetamol can, however, be purchased in non-branded form as Paediatric Paracetamol Elixir BPC. Children under one year should be given 5 ml at a time. Children between 1 and 5 years can be given 10 ml at a time.
Paracetamol is preferred to aspirin since it can be produced in elixir or medicine form. Aspirin is only available as tablets in such products as Anglers Junior Aspirin, Junior Disprin and Parkinsons Children’s Aspirin tablets .
Teething preparations are largely useless. When applied to gums or to emerging teeth, they are quickly washed away in the saliva. Products available include Baby Gam Lotion, Dentinox Teething Gel, Dentinox Teething Liquid, Steedmanys Teething Jelly and Woodward’s Teething Balm, and although a mild painkiller is probably more useful it might be worthwhile trying Dentinox and Woodward’s because both contain a local anaesthetic.
There are many products for the prevention or treatment of other illnesses or problems in babies and children. I do not recommend any of them. A baby or child who needs a medicine other than of the type I’ve mentioned here needs a doctor. Never take any chances with babies or children – always ask for professional advice if you are in any doubt about the diagnosis or treatment.