One way to avoid unwanted side effects from the mostly ineffective over the counter children’s cough syrups is to opt for the natural remedy of honey.

There is absolutely a time and place for over the counter medicine but maybe not when it comes to children’s cough medicine. Some experts believe that many of the products out there are ineffective and have side effects that can be more trouble than the initial cough. But when your kid has been coughing all through the night, making everyone in the house walking zombies for sometimes months at a time, what other choice do you have? Dr. Bud Wiedermann, a specialist in children’s infection diseases, suggests honey (but only for children over one years old).

It’s not that honey is better than the over the counter options, at least as far as the cough is concerned. It may or may not work, just as the other medicines may or may not work. But here’s where it’s a better option, there are no side effects (unless your child has a specific food allergy) and if you’re desperate, honey is a safer option.

“Honey has some natural antibacterial and antiviral properties,” [Pediatrician Jennifer Shu] says. “It contains hydrogen peroxide, so there is a theory that that’s why it might help fight a cold. But also the thickness of it helps coat the throat and makes it feel more comfortable so you don’t have that dry, ticklish feeling that’s causing your cough.”npr.org

You can find out even more about honey, over the counter cough syrups and more by reading For Kid’s Coughs, Swap The Over-The-Counter Syrups For Honey at npr.org.