DIY: Toddler Cough Relief

Dear Flickr members, it's flu season...

Image by whiskeyandtears via Flickr

Last night as I sat in bed listening to my 15-month-old Little Miss hacking and coughing in the next room, praying she’d fall back asleep and wake up feeling better, I grabbed my phone and Googled “Toddler Cough Medicine” to see what suggestions were out there.  I knew regular cough syrup was out of the question but wanted to know what other parents have done to help their children get better sleep when they have a cough.

What I found was very interesting: An eHow article with non-medicinal options for soothing a toddler’s cough:  Things you can do right in your own home, even in the middle of the night.  Here are some suggestions (both from the article and my own experience):

  • Mix 1-2 tsp of honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice into a glass of warm water.  Add a dash of white pepper to get rid of mucus. NOTE: NEVER give honey to a child under the age of one.  Honey contains a bacteria that produces a toxin that can attack a young infant’s nervous system and may lead to death.
  • Stir ginger into hot tea.
  • Add 1 tsp of honey and a dash of turmeric to warm milk.
  • Turn the shower on very hot and sit in the bathroom with the door closed for 20 minutes.
  • Use a humidifier in the child’s room.  (Warm steam makes the room similar to the warm bathroom after a shower but can breed bacteria; cold steam helps avoid bacteria but may not be as comforting.)
  • Try fomentations: Soak flannel fabric several layers thick in hot water and apply to throat and/or chest for up to five minutes at a time, repeating as long as desired.
  • Place a towel under the mattress to help the child sleep at an incline.
  • Rub Vick’s (they make one specifically for kids) on the chest (and back if you like) before bed.
  • Avoid dairy.  If your toddler drinks a lot of milk, try cutting back on it for a couple of days and replacing it with tea and water (even cold water will soothe a cough).  Milk tends to enhance mucus in the throat, which can make coughing worse.

The article is a good one to bookmark if you collect links to various helpful sites, and the ingredients used may be handy to keep in your kitchen for use during late-night cough-fests.  It also includes some helpful tips and safety information at the end, so take a look.

Don’t forget: NEVER give honey to a child under the age of one.  A bacteria in the honey can produce a toxin that may attack the infant’s nervous system and could cause death.


One thought on “DIY: Toddler Cough Relief

  1. i’ve also found that if you rub the baby vic’s onto the soles of their feet and put socks on, it helps the respiratory system. I don’t know how it works, i just know it does! (it also works wonders for grown ups too)

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