Any Relief for a Coughing Baby?

Updated on January 29, 2008
A.N. asks from Green Lane, PA
38 answers

Hi Everyone,

My 18-month-old daughter has a cold and coughed all night long last night, so we're all miserable. I used to give her some Tylenol Cough and Cold for sleeping, but that was taken off the market with the recall. Can anyone offer any tricks for helping a coughing baby (and the rest of the family) sleep? I read in the news about a recent study that said that a teaspoon of honey before bed proved to be more effective than cough medicine, but I haven't tried that yet.

Both my girls just finished a course of antibiotics for sinus/ear/eye infections, and I feel like it is starting all over again. Ever since my oldest started preschool in the fall, both girls have had one cold/ear infection after the other. Any tips and tricks for preventing and treating the common cold with cough are appreciated!

Thanks!

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L.P.

answers from Columbus on

I have 2 boys and to relieve their cough I put vapor rub on the bottom of their feet then put sicks on.

I use Arbonne Herbal vapor rub, its not so strong and works very well with no petroleum.

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P.S.

answers from Columbus on

try putting Vick's vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on her. This has worked for myself and my 7 yr old grandson.

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M.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Oooh, that makes for miserable nights! Have you tried a cool air vaporizer or leaving a window cracked? Often the bit of cool air is very helpful. Kids usually get sick this time of year for two reasons. 1. School and holiday visits and all those extra germs. 2. We keep them closed up in the house and the school with the heat running which dries them out. The cool air vaporizer/humidifier can make a world of difference and allow you all to get some sleep. They aren't very expensive and you can get them about anywhere.

There is also a vaccine that is recommended for daycare/school kids. It is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). One specialty it is supposed to prevent is ear infections. I think it is one of the vaccines that is elective. I can't remember if there is a certain age for that one.

They only way to prevent the common cold is to live in a bubble. :) Hand washing will help.

Good luck!
M.-mother of 6 girls.

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E.E.

answers from Cincinnati on

Over the weekend I read that for all children under 6 cough medicines are not recommended. However, 1 teaspoon of honey was supposed to work better then cough medicine, I cannot find the article unfortunately but next time I hear my 4 year old cough I will give her a teaspoon. Since your child is over one it is supposed to be fine to give it. Good luck~ It will be over soon hopefully~

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R.M.

answers from Dayton on

Try Vicks Bapor Rub. They make one for babies. Also try propping her mattress up at the head of the bead with a pillow or something to keep the fluid from draining down her throat while she sleeps. My son moves all over the crib, but he stays put pretty much when I have done this in the past.
Good luck

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L.P.

answers from Columbus on

I have 2 boys and to relieve their cough I put vapor rub on the bottom of their feet then put sicks on.

I use Arbonne Herbal vapor rub, its not so strong and works very well with no petroleum.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.S.

answers from Dayton on

i have to laugh because my mom just told me about the vicks on the bottom of the feet trick & i told her she was crazy ;-) guess i owe her an apology!!

anyway, i know i'm in the minority here, but we had to use medicine. our son (23 months) had been sick, literally, on & off for almost 4 MONTHS in a row. he would get sniffles & we would not give him any of the now taboo products. instead we put a humidifier in his room, propped up his head at night & kept up with his breathing treatments. (he's on a nebulizer for possible asthma). nothing was working. our poor son was so mucus-y he couldn't sleep, eat or play. when he would lay down he would cough so hard he would wake up and then eventually throw up. he couldn't eat because the collected mucus would come back up (in vomit form), so he was afraid to ingest anything. we didn't even have thanksgiving because we got 1/2 way to inlaws & he threw up all over himself & his carseat :(
finally, one night at midnight we had enough of his suffering. i went to meijer & read every single package of OTC meds for kids. i found one that had dosage info for a 2 year old, which my son has weighed as much as for many months now. we gave him a very carefully measured dosage & he was almost 75% better by morning. i used triaminic day time cold & cough. (we had tried claritin, benedryl & deslyn previously & none of them worked).
not wanting to be casual about giving him meds i consulted 3 different pharmacists & learned why the recall happened in the first place.
1.) people were overdosing their children by not measuring the med properly.
2.) people were giving their kids OTC med when they were actually sick & needed to see a dr.
in my opinion, i don't like having to give a little toddler anything. the only reason we chose to was to greatly improve his ability to eat, sleep, breathe & play. we honestly thought it was our only choice.
also, 2 times in the past 3 months the mucus got so bad it infected his ears & he wound up on antibiotics for double ear infections. i guess i see triaminic as a less extreme med than antibiotics.
i should also mention we took him to be allergy tested yesterday & found out he's not allergic to anything. the dr told us if you allow your child to enter any kind of daycare setting, you subject them to germs. he did not mean that offensively -- in fact he thought it was good to expose them little by little now, rather than sheild them until gradeK. he told us the last 3 & first 3 months of the year are terrible for colds, germs, etc & kids pick up stuff.

if your dr is on the side of OTC meds being okay, you could call & ask what the appropriate dosage for your daughter
s weight would be.
sorry this is so long, it's just a subject very close to our family's heart & i wanted you to know you're not alone. i wish your daughter a speedy recovery, i know how horrible it is to see them sick & not feeling good.

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L.S.

answers from Dayton on

Honey actually does work pretty well. I can't remember at what age it's o.k. to give it to them though (allergies). I've also brought them in to a steamy bathroom. Sometimes just elevating them helps too. You can stack pillows, or somehow slant the mattress so that they are not laying flat on their back. One other thing that works pretty well is to smear vicks vapor rub generously on their feet and cover with socks - sounds strange, but really works. You want to be careful with cough suppressents (vicks is one, but sometimes they just need to sleep), and I would usually reccommend an expectorant. Musinex makes one for children, but don't know the minimum age.

Sambucol, which is a black elderberry extract, is a great immune system booster. Don't know what the minimum age for it is though. If your kids can do lollipops, I recommend the ones you can find in the cough drop aisle that are designed for kids. They help sooth sore throats and coughs.

You may need to take her back to the doctor. My daughter had a low grade fever and cough that wouldn't go away and it turned out to be pneumonia.

Good luck, and I hope your daughter gets healthy soon!

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K.S.

answers from Cleveland on

I've heard that honey is more effective than the over the counter remedies but make sure with your doctor that your daughter is old enough for it. I think it's okay for children over a year old but verify that because honey is unpasteurized and can cause problems in little ones.

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J.W.

answers from Columbus on

I feel what your going through. My 23 month old son has had a cold for about a month now. His doctor put him on an antibiotic-Zithromax. I asked the pharmisict what else I could give him because he was still coughing to the point of making himself sick. She told me to give him some Mucinex. It has started breaking up the congestion in his chest. He still coughs but is sleeping through the night. I would double check before you gave it to your daughter but it has been helping my son. Good luck!

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M.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Oooh, that makes for miserable nights! Have you tried a cool air vaporizer or leaving a window cracked? Often the bit of cool air is very helpful. Kids usually get sick this time of year for two reasons. 1. School and holiday visits and all those extra germs. 2. We keep them closed up in the house and the school with the heat running which dries them out. The cool air vaporizer/humidifier can make a world of difference and allow you all to get some sleep. They aren't very expensive and you can get them about anywhere.

There is also a vaccine that is recommended for daycare/school kids. It is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). One specialty it is supposed to prevent is ear infections. I think it is one of the vaccines that is elective. I can't remember if there is a certain age for that one.

They only way to prevent the common cold is to live in a bubble. :) Hand washing will help.

Good luck!
M.-mother of 6 girls.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.Z.

answers from Cleveland on

A vaproizer and Vicks (or generic) Vapor Rub. It should relieve some of the coughing. I have Mucinex (sp?) that I give to my son but I am not sure of the age range for that.
Good luck!
S.

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P.S.

answers from Columbus on

try putting Vick's vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on her. This has worked for myself and my 7 yr old grandson.

R.P.

answers from Youngstown on

we have a "mint pack" - it works GREAT!

depending on your baby - whether your daughter would mess with it.

it works great to help you sleep if you are congested!

check it out at

www.rachelsbest.com

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P.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

Try a little vicks vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on. It will wipe the cough out!

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

Vicks vapor rub to the chest, humidifiers in the rooms, there are seudfed plug ins that put stuff like vicks in the air which helps my son some. Since he started daycare and now preschool, we do multivitimins daily on top of a very healthy diet. You have to keep in mind that your daughter goes to school with other kids which may have school aged siblings. Therefore, what is going around the schools your daughter is going to pick up if she does not use soap and water effectively. Their first year around other children and in new places (as even a school teacher or nurse could tell you) they are going to be sick a lot! The only way to build up an immune system to these common colds and such is to get them and suffer through them. They can last for weeks on end (and it stinks!). GRATEFULLY, come next year, both your girls should do much better since they are being exposed to so much this year. When my son gets really congested or coughing a lot, I call the doctor and get an OK to do rubitussium or benadrly so that we both get some reliefe. On package these there is no safe dose for children under 6. The reason is becase medications are not based on age, but on weight in kilograms. Children are at such variable sizes (even above 6!) that they may not be safe at a specific dose for each child. The doctor can tell you what the safe amount for each of your children is exactly.
Other things we have tried with some relief are: Children's Claritin (our congestion is related to allergies though), Sleeping on an extra pillow (assist in the draining so it hopefully doesn't settle in the ears or chest), and cough drops. Best of Luck!

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M.H.

answers from Dayton on

You have a lot of replies already, but someone mentioned the Vick's on the feet...well, here is the email! I have received this a couple of times but have not tried it out yet. Hope it helps!!

WOW! I was raised, and raised my kids with Vicks. How come I never knew this? I can't wait for my next cough. Amazing! READ IT ALL. It works 100 percent of the time, although the scientists at the Canada Research council (who discovered it) aren't sure why. To stop nighttime coughing in a child (or an adult, as we found out personally), put Vicks Vapor Rub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime and then cover with socks. Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about five minutes and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief. This works 100 percent of the time, and is more effective in children than even very strong prescription
cough medicines. In addition it is extremely soothing and comforting and they will sleep soundly. I heard the head of the Canada Research Council describe these findings on the part of their scientists when they were investigating the effectiveness and usage of prescription cough medicines in
children, as compared to alternative therapies like acupressure. I just happened to tune in to a.m. Radio and picked up this guy talking about why cough medicines in kids often do more harm than good due to the chemical
makeup of these strong drugs, so I listened. It was a surprising finding and found to be more effective than prescribed medicines for children at bedtime, and in addition to have a soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep soundly. My wife tried it on herself when she had a very deep constant and persistent cough a few weeks ago, and it worked 100 percent! She said it felt like a warm blanket had enveloped her. The coughing stopped in a few minutes, and believe me this was a deep (incredibly annoying!) every few seconds, uncontrollable cough and she slept
cough-free for hours every night she used it. If you have children or grandchildren, pass it on. If you end up sick, try it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed by the effect.

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L.H.

answers from Youngstown on

Try taking a hot (not too hot to tolerate) shower with your little one prior to putting her down for the night patting her back. The hot vapor helps to open her air passages and break up the mucus (as does the patting) that is helping her fight the cold (but not letting her sleep). Make sure you keep her warm after the shower as well. As to the comment about how your oldest has brought home germs from preschool, it is a pain now, but both of your daughters immune systems will be better developped (able to fight diseases better and faster when they are older = less sick days from school).

J.D.

answers from Columbus on

Try Vicks vaporub on the soles of the feet, works like a charm!

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K.B.

answers from Canton on

Before giving your baby honey check with your doctor HONEY is not recommended for young children.

The old fashion sugar "TIT" is a good alternative. Use any piece of hard candy in a piece of sterile cloth.... You wrap the candy in the cloth so that it doesn't slip down your child throat and have them suck on it. They used to put a boiled (cooled) silver dollar behind it to keep the child from choking. but I suggest you keep a hold of the cloth and control it the entire time it is in your little ones mouth.

It works great. OH by the way any hard candy will do as much good as most 95% of the cough drops on the market today.

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A.W.

answers from Lexington on

I know thi sounds weird but it works pretty well and it is so easy. Vicks Vapo Rub. Thickly coat her feet at night and put socks on over her feet to keep it in place. That's all. Strange, I know. But it helps. It eases stuffiness and cough. It won't get rid of it but it will ease it.

Good luck!

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B.I.

answers from Louisville on

I had the best luck with a prescription syrup that had codiene in it however I don't know if your baby is too young for that. I made it through those sleepless nights by giving my youngest Delsym. It is kind of expensive but it really does last for 12 hours. Try it and I think you will be pleased! Grandmothers and doctors will also tell you that hard pats on their little backs helps to break up all that gunk. Good luck and I really hope that little one feels better soon!
B. I

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P.B.

answers from Lima on

I realize this sounds too simple and "old wives taley",but I've many friends who say it worked for them. Dr. Gott,an M.D. has a column in our local paper once a week. He has repeadedly received letters of mothers telling him that rubbing "Vicks Vapo Rub" on the soles of their little ones feet at bedtime stops night time coughing.

He,not me,(I have no little ones any longer)recommends trying it. It works for many,if it doesn't you haven't anything to lose. My only caution would be to try a small spot before bedtime to be sure it didn't irritate the skin.

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C.G.

answers from Toledo on

Yes, try rubbing Baby Vicks on the bottom of your babies feet! Make sure she has footed pyjamas or socks on. Load up on the Vicks and it feels great on their feet. My girlfriends and I have all been doing this for our kids. As for the medicine that was recalled, this was due to parents overdosing. I still use 1 tsp of Triaminic Night Cold and Cough at night to help my 2 1/2 year old sleep. I just don't use medicine during the day. I hope this helps!

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K.

answers from Lima on

The plug-in Vick's vaporizor worked well for us. Just get the mini one that goes right in the light socket.

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K.C.

answers from Dayton on

Sheila's response below about the Vick's vapor rub on the bottom of their feet --- IT WORKS!! Weirdest thing. My son had been sick, his babysitter said she did it to her baby and recommended that I do it for him. I, too, was hesitant because I figured Tylenol is fine. I decided after 2 nights (and the days) of hearing him cough was annoying for me and him. I gave him a bath, put it on the bottom of his feet and put socks on. I didn't hear a sound from him all night.

Also, a humidifier works as well. Keeps the air moist as the "dry heat" can make the cough continue.

Hope it helps!
K.

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S.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

A.
I was just reading an email about coughing it said to rub vicks vapor rub on the bottoms of there feet, havent tried it because i have no little ones anymore but what could it hurt give it a try
S.

R.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

Take them to see Dr. Mark Michael - Allergist (previously pediatrition) ###-###-####

I don't ever take my kids (or myself) to the PCP for a cold/sinus infection, etc. b/c they were never properly diagnosed. Dr. Michael is in Western Hills, Montgomery and Mt. Airy. We went through months of sleepless nights and after seeing Dr. Michael our kids were well within a week and a half. That was three years ago and we've been going ever since.

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D.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

I've heard and used vick vapor rub on the feet. The idea is if you rub garlic or any other stronger spice on your feet your boby basically obsorbs it. About 30 to 45 minutes later you should literally taste the garlic in your mouth. Vicks works the same way opening the sinus and lungus because of the menthol. It offers them some relief without medication. Not that I'm against meds. I came across this idea with the recent scare this fall of the multi-symstom meds for infants under 2 years old. People were over doseing their young kids giving them infant tylenol and a multi-systom med that also had a fever reducer. Every infant med got pulled off the shelf in an over reaction. My college friend who grew up on a farm recommended it. I used it on my 12 month old... it helped her. I also use a warm vapor with methol in it to again just open the passages.

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M.W.

answers from Cleveland on

I don't know if you have seen the news or gotten the email but try putting vicks vapor rub on there feet then put socks on it will help I promise you i used it on my daughter when she was sick and used it myself its amazing

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N.D.

answers from Cincinnati on

our pharmacist recommended delsyum for our 3 year old. you should ask your doctor about that first. i know people say that cough syrups dont work, but this one is a 12 hour one and for my daughter, it really really works. good luck.

the vicks on the feet did not work for my daughter at all.

also a humidifier would be good.

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H.H.

answers from Cleveland on

I do this for my 2 yr old. It is old remedy. The honey does work. Also try putting infant vicks vapor rub on her feet at night with socks on. Also you can put on her chest and vicks plug ins work great!

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M.R.

answers from Lima on

Hi A.,
You might really try the honey. I gave some to my little boy last week and it seemed to help. The study said that really dark honey works the best. Good Luck and hope everyone gets some sleep tonight!

M.

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C.

answers from Cleveland on

Start using a cool mist humidfier if you aren't already. We keep one going in my son's room every night since it has gotten cold, even though we have a full house humidfier. Do not close the door though.

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A.P.

answers from Louisville on

Try putting Vicks Vaporub (or generic version) on the bottoms of their feet at night and then covering with socks. It works for us to stop those persistent coughs! Good luck!

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D.H.

answers from Columbus on

My daughter has allergies and coughs alot. Try raising the head of her mattress by puting 2 phone books underneath. You can also try vicks vapor rub and a vaporizor in her room. That really helps us.

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A.G.

answers from Lexington on

Hi, I am a mother of 4 my youngest is now 12 and I also have a grandson. I heard on television on one of the mommy shows that if you rub vicks sauve on the bottom of the childs feet and of course cover them with socks or a sleeper that it will cease the coughing through the night. I have never tried it.But of course check with your docter first because of the child's age and factors that may cause pneumonia.

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L.L.

answers from Toledo on

Rub a thin layer of Vicks on the bottom of your child's feet right before bed and there should be no coughing for the rest of the night.

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C.S.

answers from Lima on

I recently learned from an email that it is effective to put Vicks on the bottom of your little one's feet, then put socks on them. I have only tried it one night on my 5 year old, and it did work...others have tried it and said it didn't work.
That is the only trick I know that hasn't already been mentioned.
You are not alone in the preschool/getting sick all the time world. I have noticed that as time goes on, they do become more immune and are not sick near as often. Just hang in there, it does get better.

Good Luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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J.D.

answers from Dayton on

This is a trick I heard just recently and is supposed to work on anyone from babies on up. I tried it with my 9 year old and it worked awesome. Spread vick's vapor rub on the bottom of her feet and then put socks on her. Do this at bedtime and supposedly it keeps the coughing away, even a deep chest cough. Good luck, hope it works for you!
P.S. I guess I should have read the other replies before I submitted this! Well, at least you know I'm not crazy!

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M.R.

answers from Cleveland on

I used vicks vaporub on my daughter's feet. An aunt of mine sent me an e-mail about using vick's on their feet. She had been coughing for about a week (no fever) just teething and cough/congestion. So i figured why not i tried everything else. and i kid you not she slept all night no coughing no midnight up time, i was amazed. I used the cream vicks vaporub and coating her feet really well and then covered them w/ socks. before i had the vaporizer on the plug in vapor smelly things.. (i forget what they are called) and i tried baby vicks on her chest. nothing work, but for whatever reason the vicks on her feet did the trick. My neighbors tried it as well for their little ones, and it worked for them also. So hopefully it may work for you too. good luck.
M.

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