When you have a cough or cold, you might reach for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to ease your symptoms. But you can't do that for babies or toddlers. Cough and cold medicines that are safe for grownups can cause serious side effects -- even life-threatening ones -- in children under age 2.
If your baby or toddler is sniffling or coughing, try these methods. They’re all drug-free and safe for the tiniest of patients:
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If a cold or flu does catch you, make sure your medicine chest is stocked with everything you need to relieve your most miserable symptoms. WebMD's experts have the goods on the must-have cold and flu remedies this sea...
When your child's nose is stuffy, she may have trouble breathing, sleeping, and eating. Saline nasal drops can thin the mucus in her nose and shrink swollen airways. Use them two or three times per day; any more often could make her nose sore.
Saline drops may make it easier to remove mucus from your child's nose. For babies, try a suction bulb. If your toddler can blow her nose with your help, give that a try.
When your child isn't feeling well, give more drinks than usual. Extra fluids can thin out her mucus so her nose won't be as stuffy and she’ll cough up all that gunk more easily.
Most drinks, like water, juice, and milk, are fine. Warm liquids like chicken soup, apple cider, or hot chocolate can soothe a sore throat. Be sure they’re warm, not hot, to avoid burns.
Babies under 6 months should only drink breast milk or formula, not water or juice. But you may offer more milk than usual for coughs or colds.
Give a Little Honey
It soothes sore throats and eases coughs. It may even work better for children than OTC cough medicines. Give your child 1/2 teaspoon of honey before bedtime. But never give it to a child less than a year old. It can make them very ill.
Raise Baby's Head
Have you ever slept with extra pillows when you had a stuffy nose to breathe more easily? This trick works for babies, too. Simply place a pillow or folded towel under the head of your baby's mattress to create a slight angle. This will raise her head safely and help her to breathe.