Skip to content

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Barking Coughs in Children - Topic Overview

If your child has a barking cough:

  • Hold your child in a calming manner.
  • Keep your child quiet, if possible. Crying can make breathing more difficult. Try rocking or distracting your child with a book or game.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Don't use a hot vaporizer. Use only water in the humidifier. Hold your child in your lap, and let the cool vapor blow directly into your child's face.
  • If there is no improvement after several minutes, take your child into the bathroom and turn on the shower to create steam. Close the door and stay in the room while he or she breathes in the moist air for several minutes. Make sure your child is not burned by the hot water or steam. Do not leave your child alone in the bathroom.
  • If there is still no improvement, bundle your child up and go outside in the cool night air.

If none of these techniques work after you have tried them for about 30 minutes, call your doctor or seek medical attention at an emergency facility.

If your child's symptoms improve with these methods and he or she feels better, put your child back in bed with the humidifier blowing nearby.

  • Sleep in your child's room for the rest of the night.
  • Offer your child plenty of fluids to drink. Try offering a favorite drink several times each hour. You can try flavored ice treats, such as Popsicles, or crushed ice drinks.
  • Do not smoke in the house or car when you are traveling with your child.
  • Repeat the above techniques if the barking cough returns.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Barking Coughs in Children Topics

    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
     

    Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    woman receiving vaccine shot
    Article
    woman with fever
    Article
     
    Waking up from sleep
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Slideshow