In 2008, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued guidelines discouraging use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children under six. In light of these recommendations, this study assessed
whether parents had heard of the MHRA recommendations and whether they trusted those recommendations. It also examined parental knowledge, perception and behaviours associated with over-the-counter cough and cold medication use
in children. In a sample (N ¼ 941) of UK parents, one-third (36.5%) had not heard about the MHRA recommendations. Half (54.4%) of parents who were aware of the recommendations did not trust them or were unsure what to believe.
UK parents with children under six showed widespread (86.9% of sample) use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications with children. Many parents were able to identify one active ingredient in the over-the-counter cough and cold
medication they reported using with their children yet few were able to identify all of the active ingredients. Despite ubiquitous use of over-the-counter cough and cold medication with children, only 29.6% of parents rated the medication as very
effective, and just half (50.3%) rated the medication as very safe. In a subsample of UK parents (N ¼ 424), 70% misunderstood the purpose of using over-thecounter cough and cold medication with children.