Despite the fact that many of us grew up with those little, round, sweet-but-chalky-tasting “baby aspirin,” aspirin is not for babies—and the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics also make it clear that it’s not always for kids. Aspirin should never be given to infants, and parents shouldn’t give it to children or teenagers when they have viral illnesses (especially chicken pox or the flu), according to the APA Website. And since we can’t be sure, especially at the beginning of an illness, what’s viral and what’s not, it’s best to stay away from aspirin—and salicylate, aspirin’s active ingredient—altogether. That’s because of the risk of Reye Syndrome, which the APA describes as “a rare but very serious illness” that is “preceded by a viral infection” and “strongly associated with aspirin or aspirin-containing medication during the viral infection.” Note the phrase aspirin-containing—always be sure to check the ingredients on any medication you give your children. If you’re giving medication to an infant, or not sure about the ingredients in any given medicine, be sure to check with your pediatrician.
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