Officials in Georgia are urging parents not to give their young children Benadryl to sleep easier this summer.
Both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Poison Center are recommending against the use of Benadryl in small children and babies.
“Parents think it’s safe because you don’t need a prescription, but that's not the case. These drugs can be dangerous,” Georgia Poison Center Director Dr. Gaylord Garcia said.
Authorities say many antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can have adverse reactions in children under the age of 5.
“Kids who have low doses can suffer from hallucinations, which is real scary for a parent. As the dose gets higher, you start worrying about tremors, convulsions and in the worst case scenario, rarely, death," Garcia said.
Between 2015 and 2017, the GBI says there have been at least four infant deaths caused by acute antihistamine toxicity.
Many pharmacists are also warning parents about the dangers of giving young children these allergy medications, and they are urging parents to make sure to read the instructions before giving their kids any kind of medicine.
“It’s very clear: Children under 2, do not use. Two to 5, do not use unless you consult a physician. This should never be used as a sleep aide,” said Ira Katz, owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta. “It’s not indicated as a sleep aide.”
Plenty of parents say they would never give their children Benadryl to sleep, but they might use it to treat allergies.
“If they got stung by a bee, I would probably give them Benadryl for that, or an allergic reaction to shellfish, but not to go to sleep," parent Samantha Bosley said.
Pharmacists are also telling parents to keep over-the-counter medications out of their children’s reach entirely.
“Put it way up in the cabinet so no one can get ahold of it,” Katz said.
After WSB-TV shared this story on Facebook, many parents spoke out against giving children medication to sleep.
“My sister uses melatonin every night for her five year old twins and 13 year old but she'll also use benadryl especially on vacation. I consider it abusive and negligence. She's too lazy to be a Mother. I'm thankful we got Flintstone vitamins not sedated and yes she's been reported,” one mom wrote in a scathing comment.
“Singular and Benedryl almost daily to prevent recurring croup! Doesn't take much and we are back at ER. There are some of us who use for the right reasons!” another wrote.