Skip to content

    Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

    Cough Remedies for Babies and Toddlers

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    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:

    Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

    Tips for Treating the Cold and Flu

    Before cold and flu season gets into full swing, arm yourself against germs. To stave off the flu, start here: "Get a flu shot. That's the single most important thing you can do," says Aaron Glatt, MD, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y. 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...

    Read the Tips for Treating the Cold and Flu article > >

    Try Saline Drops

    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.

    Increase Fluids

    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.

    Today on WebMD

    hot toddy
    15 tips to help you feel better.
    man sneezing into elbow
    Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
     
    teen girl coughing
    Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
    elder berry
    Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
     
    Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
    Slideshow
    cold weather
    VIDEO
     
    Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
    Article
    Boy holding ear
    Slideshow
     
    woman receiving vaccine shot
    Article
    woman with fever
    Article
     
    Waking up from sleep
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Slideshow