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Children are often given more medication than they need for expected, routine ailments like the common cold, according to new poll numbers from the University of Michigan.  The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health discovered that 40 percent of children under age 4 were given cough medicine or multi-symptom cough and cold medicine, and 25 percent were given decongestants.

Researchers observed that the findings are alarming in light of a 2008 recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration that children under age 2 should not be given over-the-counter cold and cough medications.

"These products don't reduce the time the infection will lasts and misuse could lead to serious harm," says Matthew M. Davis in a statement.  "What can be confusing, however, is that often these products are labeled prominently as 'children's' medications. The details are often on the back of the box, in small print.  That's where parents and caregivers can find instructions that they should not be used in children under 4 years old," Davis says.

Image: Child with a cold, via Shutterstock