32 answers

20 Month Old Won't Stop Coughing

My 20 month old son keeps waking up at about 4am and coughs on and off until he eventually wakes up at 7:30am. This started about 4 nights ago. He did have a cold a few weeks ago...could this be the reminants of that? He has no other signs of being sick, and he doesn't cough that much throughout the day. The interrupted sleep is starting to catch up to him, this morning he has bags under his eyes :( I actually had the same issue about a month ago, where I would wake up and cough, but I would just eat a cough drop and go back to sleep. I can't give him a cough drop, and I just saw the news special about how children under 2 shouldn't get cough medicine. I have not called his pediatrician yet, but will if none of the suggestions I receive work. Does anyone have any solutions for me to try? Oh yeah, and did I mention that I don't really go back to sleep after he starts coughing either?? The cough is just a regular cough, nothing deep or wheezy. When I had it, it was like my throat was dry and I had to cough to make it not dry. Mine eventually went away after a few weeks, but I'm hoping his doesn't last that long.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I called the doctor this morning and he said there is a cough going around, and that he can take 1/2 tsp of Delsym before bed. He said if he runs a fever then to bring him in, otherwise it should only last a week or so. I'm also going to put a humidifier in his room. Thanks everyone.

Featured Answers

When my son has had issues with coughing at night we have put a pillow under his mattress to elevate his head.

I had heard that if you spread a thin layer of Vicks vapor rub (or the store brand) on his feet and put thick socks on him before he goes to bed it will supress the cough.. I tried it with my 8 month old and it seemed to work pretty well. Good luck!!

It sounds like post nasal drip from sinuses. I just read an email recently about putting Vicks on the bottom of feet to help suppress coughing. I tried it myself, and it did help some. I slept much better and didn't cough much at all. I had bronchitis. It certainly would be worth a try with a little one!

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There are homeopathic remedies that can be used for such a thing. If you are not familiar with them you can go to Whole Foods and someone there can help you choose the one you need. You will need to explain that it happens at night and it will be very important to explain to them what kind of cough it is - dry, hoarse, with mucus, etc. Homeopathic remedies are little tiny pellets. My daughter took them at 20 months, but would chew them up instead of suck them like you are supposed to. When she was younger our homeopath just had us disolve one or two pellets in water, and then drop some of the water into her mouth with a little eye dropper. They work wonders, and of course, are all natural.

My 5 yr old just had the same thing. After about 4 or 5 nights it gradually go better and is completely gone now. I was able to give him cough medicine though. You could probably call your Dr to see what you could give OTC and the correct dosage. That is what I have always done in the past. I hope your little one gets better soon!

I would try a humidifier with vicks vapor. That may help clear him up and keep his throat moist. I have two boys now 18 & soon to be 16. Jake formed a habit of getting up and did that until he was well into his 3's. Make sure he's not running a low temp. That would be a sign that it may have turned into bronchitis. Also make sure whatever he is coughing up hasn't changed color. If it continues another couple of days I would schedule an appointment just to be sure nothing has developed.

My son had that cough that lasted forever too. We just ran the vaporizer with the solumel and melaleuca oil in it until it cleared up. it did eventually, but it did last a few weeks. we were wondering when it would go away. there were no other symptoms either, just the coughing that lasted after his little cold went away. it was weird! but he's all better now.


This may sound strange, but I just got an email regarding a great non-medication resolution for coughing! Actually haven't tried it yet as none of my 8 have a cough at the moment, but I'm definitely trying it next time! Try rubbing some Vicks vaporub on his feet and put him to bed with socks on. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HE WON'T TAKE THE SOCKS OFF AND TRY TO PUT HIS FEET IN HIS MOUTH! : ) I have heard from more than one source that this works, so I hope it's worth a try. I liked it because it doesn't involve me medicating my kids either. Hope this helps!

If he has no other signs of congestion or other cold symptoms I would suggest using a cool mist humidifier. The heat maybe too dry. Just remember to put in distilled water and not tap water.

Try putting a humidifier in his room. Start it about thirty minutes before he goes to bed. Like you, his nasal passages are probably dry. (If your having the cold, cold weather like alot of us, the heat is running more often at home.) Also, you can try turning the shower on in the bathroom, running hot water, then sit with him (maybe read a book) on the toilet. A third possiblilty is "Little Noses." These are saline (salt water) nose drops you can spray in his nose.

Both my kids had stuffy nose issues. They are now 10 and 6.

Hope this helps,

It sounds like post nasal drip from sinuses. I just read an email recently about putting Vicks on the bottom of feet to help suppress coughing. I tried it myself, and it did help some. I slept much better and didn't cough much at all. I had bronchitis. It certainly would be worth a try with a little one!

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