Claritin is a drug that used to be by prescription only, and is now available over the counter to treat allergies. Some parents wonder if it’s OK to give to their babies, since it’s so effective for their own allergies. It’s very convenient to be able to treat your baby at home with your own supply, but you should definitely take a pass on that idea.
Drug companies manufacture and test their pharmaceuticals on adult subjects, and they are not expecting them to be taken by babies. That’s why it says on the label not recommended for children under two years of age. There is rumor of an infant version of Claritin, but we couldn’t find any documentation that it exists.
When it comes to giving your baby OTC drugs like this there are basically two camps of parents and doctors, with one side saying that it’s OK as long as you adjust the dosage, and the other side saying that it’s too powerful for babies, and you should treat them naturally or with weaker medication.
Can I Give My Baby Claritin? Not Recommended.
Even though Claritin is available without a prescription, it’s still just as strong as a prescription drug. It was just able to pass the necessary testing and waiting period to be available without a prescription. You have to keep that in mind because often it’s assumed that because you can go to the store and buy it directly it must not be as strong as medication prescribed by a doctor. They didn’t weaken the formula when it started becoming available with no prescription, it’s still the same strength.
There are plenty of possible side effects for adults that take Claritin, so it’s easy to see that there would be those effects, plus additional ones in regards to a baby. Cutting down the dosage does not mean that you are cutting down the effects, and there’s no accurate way to play with the dosage enough to make it alright for a baby. Babies are still developing in their first year, and these drugs are made for fully developed adults.
Natural Remedies for Baby Allergies
There are natural things you can do to help your baby if they are showing signs of having allergies. The first and often easiest step that has a direct impact on the situation is to remove the offending substance from their environment. This can often bring immediate and lasting relief. It becomes a bit trickier if the allergen is a family pet, such as a cat or a dog. In this case you’ll have to decide whether your furry friend is going to stick around, and if so, how you’re going to treat these allergies for the long-term.
Your little one’s immune system is still developing, which is why they may be more sensitive to allergens now. It could be that they’ll outgrow whatever it is that’s bothering them, so letting them deal with it naturally rather than covering up symptoms may be the best route to take. You can always soothe them as best you can so it’s not as traumatic for them.
When to See the Doctor
If your baby’s allergies are getting out of control, and nothing seems to be helping them, you should make an appointment to see their doctor. This is especially true if your baby’s allergies are effecting the way they breathe, or are causing them to lose sleep.
If you look long enough you’ll eventually find forums where parents are giving dosages to other moms for how much Claritin they give their own babies. This doesn’t mean that Claritin is something to give your baby, just because other parents are doing it. And just because one mother had their pediatrician prescribe Claritin does not make it a blanket statement that it’s OK for every baby in every situation. There are far too many unknowns to take the advice from well-meaning parents.
While allergies can sometimes be a bad enough problem to warrant a prescription, the right way to go about treating them is to see your doctor when they get bad enough, and follow the prescriptions they recommend. There’s too much room for error when it comes to giving your baby prescription-strength meds at home without direction from a professional.