38 answers

Cough Medicine Recommendations for My 2.5 Year Old

Please give me some names of safe and effective cough medicines that have worked well for your toddler. When my daughter gets a cough, it seems to last forever. We finally broke down and gave her benadryl last night, which worked well until it wore off. She's been coughing since 3:30 this morning! She seems to sleep right through it, but her dad and I just can't! We'd like one that will last throughout the night, and one that won't make her drowsy during the day. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all your help! I did speak to a pharmacist who said that the recommendation is to not give cough medicines to kids under the age of 4 (last year, I heard the age was 2!!!) so we decided against it--as most of you mentioned, too! We've been using the sudacare vapor plugs, which work pretty well (just bought a bunch more for cheap on ebay!) and have been offering her lots of water to drink. She doesn't have a fever, nor has she complained about her ears, so I'm assuming we don't have an ear infection going on! I'm hoping this cough will just run its course and be over in the next few days. Thanks again for taking the time to offer your advice! This is the best website around!

Featured Answers

L.,
I would not recommend any cough medicines, they are not healthy for anyone.
I recommend using therapeutic-grade essential oil like eucalyptus radiata, cypress or lemon these work great!
Put them on the throat/chest and reflex points on bottom of feet. A blend we use is like using Vicks because it stops the cough and clears congestion. We also diffuse the oils in the bedroom so they are breathing the molecules all night!
Another idea is a little warm water, agave/honey and 2 drops of lemon oil or I give lemon oil mixed in agave on a teaspoon to my children. These essential oils we have been using for 6 years for various issues and can be bought from the company.
Give me a call ###-###-#### or email ____@____.com
Blessings,
K.

delsum is a single ingredient cough suppressant. It will control the cough. My Ped said it's safe for my daughter who is only 19 months. It will not help with the decongestant side of things. Humidifiers are essential for breaking up the junk too. hope she feels better

I have 3 kids 5, 3 1/2, 22 months and when they get colds and coughs we put Vick's Vapor rub on the bottom of their feet and socks on their feet so they do not get Vick's Vapor rub all over their sheets. They sleep great no real sniffels or cough. We found out about this from a home remedy book done by a Pediatrician. He even wrote dark chocolate calms a cough. I tell you it works. I am not into giving my kids medicine unless they absolutely need it or is prescribed by a Doctor.

Good luck

Amanda

More Answers

Pediatricians DO NOT recommend giving your child (any child under age 6) ANY cough/cold medicine--I have always just used a vaporizer/humidifier and put a tiny bit of VICK's rub on my son's chest. I've also used a little tylenol to help him sleep better. However, you should check with your doctor as already suggested, as a cough could be something more, like pneumonia.

Hi L.,

There is wonderful, natural cough syrup that my family swears by called "Olbas". You can find it in natural food stores and coops. Read the ingredients--it's just herbs and honey, nothing that will harm a little one.

http://olbas.com/olbascoughsyrup.htm

Good luck to you!

I'll just second what everyone else is saying - no cough syrup for kids under 6.

I don't know why it works - but it does and I swear by it. Rub vic vapo rub on the bottoms of your little one's feet and put on some socks. It works wonders so you and she can get some sleep.

As a mom of 4 little ones, and a daycare provider, I love Delsym. Works quick and is long lasting! Great stuff! I would also try a humidifier in her room at night to keep membranes moist. Good luck.

I agree with the other posts that coughing is a good thing. Generally we don't give cough medicine during the day but at night we do. I think it is more important they get their rest. My daughter has used the 12 hour Delsym but more recently we have been giving her children's musinex because her phlegm is so thick. The mucinex helps her get the stuff out.

try using a mix of honey an lemon juice,used it for my kids..didnt care for the side affects of other drugs,this is all natural,plus rub some vicks on her chest,throat,an a bit around her nose.good luck

Please don't give your child cough syrup! It's not good for one so small and the cough has a purpose. My daughter (18 months) has been going through a couple of colds recently with coughs as well. She seems to do just fine sleeping through the night and not coughing excessively if I put Vicks BabyRub on her chest and then turn the humidifier in her room on (I also put VapoSteam in the humidifier). Those things will help more than cough medicine without the risk of harming your child.

I agree with Leah. While coughing can be tiring for the kid (and mom & dad), the body is doing it for a reason. I know is sounds crazy, but when my kids cough I've started to tell them "Good cough. Cough hard and get it all out." We also talk a lot about covering your cough in an effort to stop the spread of germs.

Please take her to the doctor about this.

it depends what the cough is from. if it is cold or allergies with drainage from the sinuses, there isn't much to treat that because they have just put another alert out to not give cold meds to kids under 4 and be leery for kids under 6. if it is more of a chest cough, the doctor could prescribe a cough syrup that is ok for little ones. there aren't many that will last more than 4 hours at a time. try keeping her head elevated in bed and using a vaporizor in the room.

S.

Delsym works great and lasts 12 hours.

honey and tea? like, no caffinated tea, herbal tea?
i dont know - got me there..
:(
maybe a humidifier would work, give her lots of water to get rid of the congestion easier, prop her head up?

We also have a 2.5 year old and I have asked her doctor about this. And you can use cough meds. Pediacare makes a whole line of different cold meds. So you can get one that is just for cough. It even says right on the bottle the dosage for children 2-6. My husband is in pharmacy and he says you can do an antihistamine, a cough suppressant but you can't do a decongestant. And don't do a mixture of any of those. And you can get the pediacare over the counter.

delsum is a single ingredient cough suppressant. It will control the cough. My Ped said it's safe for my daughter who is only 19 months. It will not help with the decongestant side of things. Humidifiers are essential for breaking up the junk too. hope she feels better

try triaminic night time

Rub Vicks vapo-rub (the original, not baby formula) on the bottom of the feet, then put on socks or footie PJs. I SWEAR by this for both my boys, and it lasts for half the night if the cough is really bad, or all night if it's a mild one. My ped approved this for when my son was 6 months old, and we've been using this method ever since.

I haven't read through the other answers, but I'm sure you've been told you're not supposed to give cold meds to children under 6. Frustrating!!!
I have found, though, that a humidifier and Vicks vapor rub works better than cough syrup anyway. The humidifier especially makes a difference on my boys' chronic winter coughs.
I've also heard that a teaspoon of honey works better than cough syrup.
Good luck!

I give our son Delsym, it is a 12 hour non drowsy (or stimulating) cough medicine and it tastes great so you don't have to fight to get them to take it. What I do is give 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of it because it is for older kids but I usually only give it at night.

Along with the others advice, the only other thing I can recommend is to ask your pharmacist. They know the drugs/dosages better than the doctors do.

If the coughing is due to her sinuses draining, then perhaps taking some saline on a q-tip and "cleaning out" her nostrils might work. Also, they used to have the mentholatum patches you could stick on their chest. I used them with great success on my boys when they were very young. Otherwise, straight mentholatum on her chest and neck works well, too, if you can keep her hands away from it. :)

One more thing if those don't work...something I tried for the runny nose, etc, was to swab a tiny bit of the Mela-gel inside the nostrils. It has a menthol effect as well as kills germs and heals the inside/outside from all the friction of the mucus and tissues. I figure it's better than a bunch of chemicals and what not inside the body.

As a last resort, I concur with the Delsym. However, ask a pharmacist for an idea of a dose. It may be 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoonas my 6 yo is one teaspoon. (And it tastes good!) :)

The new recomendation is not cold medicine for children under 6.

Honey has also been proven to work just as well for coughing as most cough syrups (just make sure it is real honey & not flavored corn syrup).

If all esle fails & you do decide to use cough medicine please try Delsym. It is non narcotic & works for 12 hours. Just make sure to follow the dosing precisely

L.,

For 2-5 yrs. it states on Benadryl, "Do not use unless directed by a doctor." I am truly hoping that you brought your daughter to her doctor before giving this to her. There are many side effects of this product for children under 8. One of them is permanent tooth discoloration of adult teeth. The adult teeth are still developing and will be permanently intrinsically stained. This is not fixable. Also...visit the following site to read what the FDA says about giving two-year-olds cold medicine:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/advisory/cough_cold.htm
If you want to give your toddler cold medicine, seek the advice of a doctor first.

Instead of cough meds, try a teaspoon of plain honey before bed. This is supposed to relax the muscles in the throat. If the cough is from nasal drippage, I really like the sudafed outlet plug-in. It has menthal-vapors that fill the kids room most of the night. I also rub Vicks Vapor Rub on my daughter's feet and put on a heavy pair of socks.

Hi L.,
My kids pediatrician recommends Delsym. It is non-drowsy and last 12 hours. Rubbing Vick's Vapor Rub on the feet works for my son, but not my daughter. A cool-mist vaporizor is also good for breaking up the cough faster. Alos, a bath in a room that is steamed up is great for breaking up chest congestion. To get our bathroom steamy I turn the shower on hot for about 5 minutes.
Good luck!

I love the Dimeatapp for toddlers. You have to get the kind behind the counter though (has that acetephamin ??) in it.

I have to agree with the mom who mentioned that it might end up being an asthma type cough. That's what happened with our little boy. The nebulizer was our lifesaver.

Hi L.....my oldest (now 5yrs) had this problem as well. Whenever he would get a snotty nose, cold, the cough would last FOREVER!!!!! The poor boy would cough constantly for hours....I mean constantly, with every breath. We did cough syrup, benedryl, which worked until it wore off. We would also "sleep" through the coughing fits, but we didn't :) As a first time mom I had several times to urgent care and took the "oh its just a cold, try water, try humidifier, try standing in the bathroom with the hot shower running, oh....oh its just a cold, oh....its just a cold, over and over again. Finally on his 3 really bad coughing "fit" (couple of hours nonstop) I called a girlfriend who is also a family practice doctor in tears and said I can't believe there is nothing I can do for him. His poor tummy and throat must hurt from all the coughing. She listed to him over the phone and said, "it kind of sounds like an Asthma type cough." I paniced immediatly and had visions of him harnessed with and inhaler his whole life, not being able to run and play with friends. But she expalined that just like everything else, Asthma has degrees of severity and that somekids only get the "asthma" type cough when they are sick and there is extra fluid in their canals. She explained that when there is drainage in the head from a cold, something in their throats (sorry not a doctor) closes to prevent the fluid from going down into their lungs. Well in some kids with this type of "asthma" the thing in their throat that closes is hypersensitive and overreacts causing the constant coughing. Usually, they grow out of this type of "asthma." So, I made an appointment with our peditician and explained my conversation with the doctor friend and she listed to his chest while he was coughing and agreed. She sent us home with a nebulizer that we did 3-4 times a day (usually when the coughing would "flare up")and the problem was solved!!! We got the nebulizer when he was about 2 years old and used it almost every cold that he had for the 1st year. He is now 5, and we have had about 4 colds straight that we have not had to use it. Maybe he is growing out of it after all! Best of luck to you...I know how hard it is to feel helpless. Don't give up...keep asking questions.

I don't have a cough medicine recommendation but whenever my 3 year old has a cough that won't go away, he usually has an ear infection. If the coughing isn't going away, you may want to get her ears checked.

The "new" recommendation is no cough syrup for kids under 6 years old. We just went through the same thing in our house and the dr would even recommend anything. It suppresses the cough, therefore they are not coughing the virus out of their system. Coughing is a tiring but good thing.
Before all this I would give my kids delsum though. It is a 12 hour syrup. It seems to work ok. If my children are to the point of vomiting from coughing so hard I would give them cough syrup. Try propping her up on a pillow a little bit more. Also putting Vicks vapor rub on her feet and cover with socks (it is one of those crazy emails that was sent around--but works like a charm). Good Luck!

The best remedy we have found? Honey. Once a child is over a year old, the danger of botulism w/honey is gone. I decided to try honey when all the cold meds for little kids had been pulled off the market because they were so dangerous. I would talk to a pharmacist about how to dispense if you are unsure, but we just give a small spoonful of honey either by itself or in warm water. Works so well, even the hubby has started using it. The best part is, there are no icky drugs in it!
Good luck to you.

You really should get a peditrician's opinion. As far as I can remember, cough and cold medicines are a big no-no for infants, toddlers and even "big" kids. I think last year, the FDA went so far as to pull them from the shelves or to require stores to post a notice about them so parents knew they were not recommended.

If the cough is that severe and long lasting I would want a ped to check it out to make sure the lungs are clear and that it is not strep. It might be something as "simple" as Croup. I had this as a child and my littlest has it occassionally. The coughing is uncontrollable and terrifying to both child and parent. But it can be remedied by exposure to cold air and then switching to warm moist air. I have very fond memories of my dad sitting with me on the back steps on cold winter nights while he cranked up a steaming hot shower and waited for steam to fill the room.

Please take her to the doctor to have her checked out for asthma. She probably doesn't have it, but it would be good to rule it out.

When my son was that age his coughs lasted forever and no medicines worked. Finally at 4 he was diagnosed with asthma, and asthma medication DID work.

Good luck!

It's now recommended that children don't use cough medicine. Children need to cough in order to break up the "junk" in their lungs. It's beneficial. If it's not bothering her then so be it. You could go to a natural food store and talk to somebody there about it. Their products are natural and safe. Honey is also great for coughs. Research it on the web.

There was a medical study done just last year that found that a teaspoon of honey (particularly darker honeys, like buckwheat honey) is MORE effective than the standard cough suppressant.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20071203/honey-may...

Buckwheat honey is seasonal, but I got some when we went to the apple orchard a few weeks ago, so it should be around. Try Kowalski's or a co-op or Whole Foods, etc. I've tried this w/my 4-year old (who is prone to croup and so can't take benadryl) and was surprised by how well it worked.

Good luck! Hope you all get some sleep tonight!

Within a day of my daughter getting a cough that happens in her sleep, we use the vaporizor with Vicks Vaposteam at night and at her nap. That usually knocks them out in a day or two. If by chance it doesn't take care of it, or if it is particularily bad, we use any generic over the counter cough medecine. But just get cough suppressent, nothing else added. Usually if that combo of that doesn't work it is something really bad like bronchitis or pneumonia, and there are other symptoms, and then we also elevate the head of her bed (for breathing and drainage). My mom used the vaporizor with me and my doctor said if it works for us, keep it up. You need to close her door to keep the medecine in the room, but you will be able to smell it through the whole house. And you have to add it directly to the water in the vaporizer (not a humidifier) and not buy the gel or syrup stuff you put in the well of the vaporizer. That stuff DOESN'T WORK and it makes an oily mess if it is spilled.

Good luck!

L.,
I would not recommend any cough medicines, they are not healthy for anyone.
I recommend using therapeutic-grade essential oil like eucalyptus radiata, cypress or lemon these work great!
Put them on the throat/chest and reflex points on bottom of feet. A blend we use is like using Vicks because it stops the cough and clears congestion. We also diffuse the oils in the bedroom so they are breathing the molecules all night!
Another idea is a little warm water, agave/honey and 2 drops of lemon oil or I give lemon oil mixed in agave on a teaspoon to my children. These essential oils we have been using for 6 years for various issues and can be bought from the company.
Give me a call ###-###-#### or email ____@____.com
Blessings,
K.

Have you tried a humidifier in her room (cold mist)? Ours seems to work wonders with bad coughs and congestion plus its med free:) K.

I have 3 kids 5, 3 1/2, 22 months and when they get colds and coughs we put Vick's Vapor rub on the bottom of their feet and socks on their feet so they do not get Vick's Vapor rub all over their sheets. They sleep great no real sniffels or cough. We found out about this from a home remedy book done by a Pediatrician. He even wrote dark chocolate calms a cough. I tell you it works. I am not into giving my kids medicine unless they absolutely need it or is prescribed by a Doctor.

Good luck

Amanda

Go to the CVS or Wallgreens and check out the plug-in things. One good brand is SudaCare and there's also one by Vicks. You just slide a little tab into the thing and plug it in. A few minutes later, the whole room will smell like a big cough drop. Works like a charm for my 2.5 year old with no cough suryp. Good luck!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.