5 Simple Home Cough Remedies for Kids and Toddlers
Unfortunately, coughs are a common occurrence in toddlers and kids. It never fails that my youngest child has no hesitation in grabbing the grocery cart handle and then sticking their fingers in their mouth. They’re exposed to germs at school, through shared toys, and are still developing their immune systems.
As parents, our natural reaction may be to reach for the cough medicine, but most over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines are not safe for kids under 4. So what is a parent to do?
Treat your toddler or kid’s cough with home remedies that manage your child’s symptoms and keep them comfortable as they recover. Home remedies can be easy, less expensive and just as effective as OTCs for coughs for kids and toddlers.
Keep in mind, a regular cough can last up to 4 weeks (sometimes more, but if it’s lasting longer than 4 weeks or getting worse, see your pediatrician). Unless your toddler or child’s cough is extreme or comes with other serious symptoms – like difficulty breathing or a fever – it’s best to treat the cough at home. Our goal is to keep our kids hydrated, relaxed, and well-rested.
If you have any concerns about your child’s cough or other symptoms, always consult your pediatrician.
Here are 5 home cough remedies for kids and toddlers:
1. Use honey to treat your child’s cough.
Honey is a natural sweetener that is the ultimate home remedy: it helps soothe a sore throat, may help fight infections, thin secretions to loosen coughs, and can also help decrease nighttime coughing.
If your child is 1 year old and older, use ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon (2-5 ml) of honey as needed. DO NOT use honey if your child is under 1 year old. You can mix the honey into warm water to consume, which has the added benefit of helping keep your child hydrated.
2. Keep your child hydrated.
Everyone knows drinking plenty of fluids is important. However, when your loved one is sick, fluids are especially necessary to help the body fight off illnesses, keep airways moist, and thin out the body’s secretions making it easier to cough. Make sure your toddler or child has fresh water to drink while they’re sick.
Also, make sure to avoid milk or other dairy products during an illness since this encourages mucus production. And don’t forget eliminate sugar and sugary drinks because of its adverse effects on the immune system.
3. Use a humidifier.
During winter the air is drier and so can be the air in our homes, which will make your child’s cough worse – especially at night. We recommend setting up a humidifier in your toddler or child’s room near their crib or bed (but out of reach) to help keep the bedroom air moist and keep their nose and throat from drying out.
Only use the humidifier for a brief time because long use can possibly build molds up in the room. Make sure to read the humidifier’s user manual to understand the manufacturer’s recommendations for ideal setup in a room.
A steamy shower or warm bath can also help loosen mucus and calm your child before bedtime.
4. Use saline and suction for mucus.
When our toddler or child is coughing, sometimes there is drainage from their nasal passages that is worsening their cough. To loosen up mucus in the nose, use a saline nose spray or mist, then have your child blow their nose frequently to move the mucus out. If your toddler is too young to blow their nose, gently use a suction bulb instead.
5. Use an herbal supplement to treat your child’s cough.
Dr. Rydland’s Respiratory + Cough Herbal Formula was created to support your child’s lung tissues, decrease inflammation, loosen and eliminate mucus, and calm coughs. We developed our formula using only organic and wildcrafted herbs so they are safe for infants, toddlers, kids, and adults!
Want to prevent the next cold or cough? Check out How to Avoid or Prevent Back-to-School Sickness for some helpful tips!
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