The U.S. Federal Drug Administration has ruled that cold and cough medicines are not safe for young children and should not be given to children younger than 4.

Yet in a recent survey, 40 percent of parents reported giving children’s cold and cough over-the-counter medicine to children younger than 4. The side effects of these drugs in young children can include uneven heart rate, shallow breathing, hallucinations, nausea and convulsions.

The poll, which was part of the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, found the use of cough medicine was consistent for all income levels, genders and ethnicities.

— From staff reports