‘Sedatives’ for children?

We appreciate that dealing with requests from parents and caregivers for ‘sedatives’ can be challenging.  However, please remember that sedating antihistamines such as promethazine (Phenergan) elixir are not suitable for children under 2 years of age, due to the potential for fatal respiratory depression.1 

These medicines should not be given to children under 6 years for coughs and colds.2  For all children there is the potential for central and obstructive apnoea and reduced arousal with these agents.  Excessive doses may cause hallucinations, convulsions and sudden death.1

For children requiring antihistamines for allergies, a non-sedating antihistamine such as loratadine or cetirizine is preferred.2

1. www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/datasheet/p/promethazinewinthroptab.pdf(external link)

2. www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/puarticles/mar2013childrenandsedatingantihistamines.html(external link)

Last modified: