GBI: Allergy meds aren't good to help kids sleep

GBI: Allergy meds aren't good to help kids sleep
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has a warning for parents: Don't use allergy medicines to help your child fall asleep.

The GBI says it could be dangerous to their health and possibly deadly.

WALB News 10 caught up with parents who say they recognize the dangers of using allergy medications for unintended purposes.

"I don't want to drug my kid to make them go to sleep," said Sammy Smith.

Smith is a parent of four and a child care professional. He said the best way to make a child go to sleep is by keeping them busy all day.

"I wear a child out, so that's no problem. Them going to sleep, they'll be glad to go home, and be looking forward to the bed," he said.

But according to a report released by the GBI, more parents are using allergy medicines to help their kids sleep.

Many antihistamines contain an active ingredient called diphenhydramine, which can have adverse affects in children.

"A lot of the antihistamines are actually sedatives, a lot of information has shown that they can be very dangerous when not used correctly, particularly in young children," said Betsy Urick, pharmacist at U-Save-It Pharmacy.

Since 2013, the Georgia Poison Control received 940 emergency calls about children under 5 who had taken allergy medications.

In the past two years, the GBI reports four infant deaths were caused by a toxic reaction to antihistamine drugs.

Despite those numbers, national polling data found 1 in 5 mothers have used the drugs to get their children to sleep during a long car ride or plane trip.

That was a surprising number to Jocelyn West. This mother of two says she'll stick to the all natural way.

"I was always taught that if you let your kids play during the day, anyway, they'll tire themselves out eventually, anyway."

Health experts remind parents allergy medicines should not be used for children under the age of two.

Dosing information should also be followed very carefully. The difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon can be a matter of life or death.

To read the full report by the GBI, click here.

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