Honey is preferred to over-the-counter cough and cold medications for children older than 12 months of age with cough due to an URTI.
A 2014 Cochrane Review concluded that honey was better than ‘no treatment’ or placebo in reducing the frequency of cough in children. It was also found to be superior to diphenhydramine (low-quality evidence) and no significant difference when compared to dextromethorphan (medium-quality evidence).
Cough and cold medications are subject to accidental overdose and can cause serious adverse reactions in children. Honey would seem to be a less risky alternative.
(Note that, in Australia, over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children under 6 years of age.)