24 answers

Recommended Cough Medicine for 2 Year Old

Hi all,

My daughter has a horrible cough due to nasal drainage. With all the scares going on about giving kids under 6 cough and cold medicine, I'm leery. Is there anything out there that's safe enough for a 2 year old? She's coughing so much she can't sleep and I can't call the doctor until the morning.

Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

A cool mist humidifier and the Sudafed plug-ins have helped my children feel more comfortable through the night. I haven't tried this yet, but a friend of mine swears by putting Vicks Vapor Rub on her children's feet and then putting socks over it just before bedtime. It supposedly has taken her children's colds away by the next morning. I just have never thought about it.

Also, lots of fluids is shown to bolster the immune system.

2 moms found this helpful

Have you tried rubbing Vicks VaporRub on the soles of her feet? I know it sounds wierd but I have seen it work for the nighttime coughing...

Applying Vicks to the bottoms of the feet and putting socks on works for my kids too. Recent research suggests that children under 6 should not be given cold & cough medicines.

Parents Magazine has a helpful article on this topic, here is the link:
http://www.parents.com/baby/health/cold/how-to-soothe-kid...

More Answers

A cool mist humidifier and the Sudafed plug-ins have helped my children feel more comfortable through the night. I haven't tried this yet, but a friend of mine swears by putting Vicks Vapor Rub on her children's feet and then putting socks over it just before bedtime. It supposedly has taken her children's colds away by the next morning. I just have never thought about it.

Also, lots of fluids is shown to bolster the immune system.

2 moms found this helpful

Doesn't your Doctor have a pager number...or a Doctor's exchange phone number you can call for off-hours?
Just call your Doctors office right now, listen to their phone recording message...and they should say who to contact, or what to do outside of office hours and in case of emergency.

All the best.

Just give her lots of liquids for now... to keep the mucous flowing... and take her into the Doctor tomorrow, since she is having a bad cough...

If anything...my Doctor would suggest Benadryl, but ONLY for at night IF the child has trouble sleeping.
Per our Doctor for that age, about 1/2 teaspoon.... or read the box. But again, I am not a Doctor and you should only go by what your Doc says.

Take care

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like you got amazing advice...my son got colds pretty frequently last yeat, and the only that got him to sleep comfy was pediacare (avoid multi-symptom formulas) for nasal congestion, sudafed plug-ins, vicks baby vapor rub...for the cough we used this radish stuff my grandma used to make, and while it sounds gross it's awesome.

Boil Four Radishes (or more) with a teaspoon of sugar (i used raw) for every radish. Boil until the radishes lose their color, and it's awesome. Sip it warm. I use it to this day...

But, I also adhere to honey with warm water and try to avoid meds if you can...I only use them as a last resort.

But, please call you son's doctor...anytime cold symptoms are 'preventing sleep' it's a good idea to get doctor involved asap.
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A. ~
I don't give my little guy cough med anymore either. I started buying a nature sunshine product. I LOVE it. I couple it with a humidifier at night and it does the trick. Its by Nature Sunshine, "Herbasaurs for children Cough Syrup". No meds, made only with vitamins. I'd be happy to share my reps name if you are interested. Let me know.
Good Luck,
J.

1 mom found this helpful

I give my daughters the cough syrup from Hylands. It's homeopathic (made from honey). It is homeopathic and safe for kids.

I think the key to nasal congestion is keeping their sinuses clear. I am a distributor for Shaklee Health and Wellness products and I give my girls the multi-vitamins (Ocean Wonders Infant Mix) and Alfalfa tablets. It really keeps their allergies in check. www.shaklee.net/centeno

Also, try and keep her away from refined sugars... as difficult as that can be over the holidays.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I actually just bought something today for my 2 year old, so I'm not sure if it works yet or not. It's Mentholatum cherry chest rub - cough suppressant. I usually use Baby Vicks, but this brand is advertised as a cough suppressant & had some different ingredients. My humidifier & the Vicks usually works well if they are stuffy, but not so much for a bad cough, so I'm hoping that this works.

Gosh, this is so hard!! Use the humidifier, vics vaporub, and stand in a hot steamy shower with her before bedtime, in the morning and any other time that she needs it, then blow (or suck) her nose as much as you can. Try to have her sleep in a chair that elevates her head. I used to use the infant carrier, but she is too old for that. good luck, mom.

Hi A.,
I agree with the Honey and Lemon remedie. It really works and it's natural so you don't have to worry about meds. No cold beverages, and keep her back and chest covered. At night you could also rub vapor rub (there is a baby/toddler one, smells very nice) on her chest, back and the bottom of her feet. Of course do this when she is already asleep. Prop her up a bit and she should be able to sleep much better. If you need to give her milk give her skim milk, the regular milk will develope into flem. Well you have alot of good suggestions hope they help your baby girl get better. Take Care......

The good old "vicks" is good enough for our home sweet home !
All the news about the ingredients in childrens cough medicine is scary. Have them drink water and orange juice, too. That's what the doctor is going to tell you anyways.

Mommy knows best ! ;-)

Visit my page and tell me what you think about my home businesses.

Applying Vicks to the bottoms of the feet and putting socks on works for my kids too. Recent research suggests that children under 6 should not be given cold & cough medicines.

Parents Magazine has a helpful article on this topic, here is the link:
http://www.parents.com/baby/health/cold/how-to-soothe-kid...

I recently heard of an "unconventional" method for relieving coughs. When your daughter goes to bed, apply Vicks to the bottoms of her feet, then put socks on. I have been doing this for myself and my little ones anytime we have a cough. I don't know that it really helps, for sure. But none of us have been kept awake from coughing (I don't know if it is because of the Vicks or if they are just not very bad coughs, but I don't want to stop using the Vicks to find out it really is a bad cough and be up all night!) Hope this helps!

Try mixing a little honey (she is old enough) and lemon juice. Its great for a cough and sore throat. You can even mix it in a little warm tea and put it in a pretty teacup to make it special.

I always use a warm vaporizer with the "vicks vapo steam" in it when my kids sleep, it helps soothe the cough. (door closed for maxium effect)also, have her lay on her tummy instead of her back. this way the drainage won't sit on her throat and irriate it (helps for sore throats too).

You can also lay her a bit propped up if she does want to lay on her back. Have her blow her nose (can be difficult at this age) when she has coughing spells (or you can suction it out). I have found that getting the nasal drainage out, helps the cough subside. To help stop a major coughing fit- have her sit up and drink warm water.

The only think I would think would be ok would be robitussin dm-- but like you said, md's really don't want to give anything to little ones under 4 now.

also- be aware of what kind of cough it is. Is it a dry- hacky cough, or a mucousy wet cough? Is it deep in her chest? If any of the later is the case, please contact her md. You don't want the congestion to sit in her chest for too long. they make a "mucinex" for kids (check the age restrictions) that is in a granual form. This will help clear the congestion from the chest.

Have her drink lots of water if it is congested. This is a natural expectorant that will help rid the body of the phlem build-up. A cough is actually a good thing. It helps the body get rid of irritants that could be harmful. The only trouble is- at night no one can sleep! So treat the cough at night- but let it run it's course during the day. She will get better soon!

Hopefully some of these remedies will help! :)
good luck~!

Have you tried rubbing Vicks VaporRub on the soles of her feet? I know it sounds wierd but I have seen it work for the nighttime coughing...

Our son has had the same thing for the last week! A warm mist vaporizer does wonders for his cough. Since she is over one, you can also give her a spoonful of honey. These two things have gotten us through this very well and have reminded me that we don't really need all those fancy medicines anyhow!
I hope this helps you too.
S.

Cough is seperate from nasal drip. Cough can be supressed with natural, organic honey. Have her swallow a teaspoon and let it coat her throat. Better tasting and WAY SAFER than over the counter medications.

B.
Family Nutrition Coach

I agree with the honey and lemon.. and the vicks, I also elevate my kids put a pillow and a blanket to grade their heads a little it helps the drip drain easier and allows they to not have to fight to breath and drain.. If you you avoid the cough meds and try an anti histimine like benedryl, zyrtec, or clatintin ( all in the kids dose version) they help my daughter has allergies and when they combine with a cold the nasal drip is eased by the anti histamine and her doctor is the one who told me to use it on her 4 yrs and my son 2

A.,

Have you used a humidifier in her room? I use one in my babies room and they both sleep better. The 6 month old still wakes up coughing, but, I know it is safe for them. She does not cough as much during the day. My 17 month old does not cough at all during the day. It is nice.

Here is my take. I believe that people OD their kids. They also use medicine to make their children sleep on planes, which is wrong and selfish on their part. I believe some parents are lazy. Anyway, both my girls have always taken the cough medicine and I have found it to work. I never give them more than what is required on the bottle and I make sure that if there is other medicine involved that it can safely be taken either separately or together. I note the time that the medicine is taken so that there is no chance of an OD. Also, I tend only to use expectorant at night and much lesss during the day. I use my own logical judgement. I would talk to your doctor about an expectorant and see what the doc says. Both my girls, now 6 and 3 are perfectly fine and the medicine did help. Good luck!

I have 2 little boys. One is 3 1/2 the other will be 1 in a few days. We put Vicks on the bottom of their feet then put socks, then put vicks in their armpits, and also on their chest. Also if its bad we get liquid Vicks and put it in the humidfier water and run it. It may take a couple of nights but I don't like giving medicine if I don't have to. I wish you all the best. Please let me know if something works better if you get a chance. Thank you Jeannie

Here is info I got from Baby Center, hope it helps...
Eleven safe home remedies to soothe your child's cold and flu symptoms
by Karen Miles
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
Last updated: September 2008

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Highlights
1) Honey (12 months and up)
2) A neti pot (4 years and up)
3) Nose blowing (2 years and up)
4) A bulb syringe (best for babies)
5) Vapor rubs (3 months and up)
6) Gargling with salt water (4 years and up)
7) Elevating the head (all ages)
8) Lots of rest (all ages)
9) Steamy air (all ages)
10) Extra fluids (6 months and up)
11) Chicken soup and other warm liquids (6 months and up)

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines aren't for young children. And antibiotics don't work on viral illnesses. So what can you do when your child comes down with a cold or the flu?

Try these gentle, effective, and safe home remedies.
1) Honey (12 months and up)

How it helps

Honey coats and soothes the throat and helps tame a cough.

In a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine, parents of 105 children ages 2 to 18 rated honey helpful and better than cough syrup for treating children's nighttime coughs.

What you need

Honey, available at any grocery store.

Honey often gets hard at room temperature. To soften it, spoon some into a container and heat it briefly in a microwave or boil some water and then set the honey jar in the very hot water for five or ten minutes.

Your child must be at least a year old to try this remedy.

How to use it

If your child is 1 to 5 years old, give him 1/2 teaspoon of honey. If he's between 6 and 11 years old, give him 1 teaspoon.

Some people mix their honey with hot water and add a squeeze of lemon, which provides a little vitamin C along with the soothing honey.

Because honey is a sticky sweet, it's important for you or your child to brush his teeth after he takes it, especially if you give it to him at bedtime.

Cautions

Don't give honey to a child before his first birthday. It can cause a rare and sometimes fatal illness called infant botulism. Find out more.
2) A neti pot (4 years and up)

How it helps

A neti pot flushes a mild saline solution through the nasal passages, moisturizing the area and thinning, loosening, and rinsing away mucus. Think of it as nasal irrigation.

According to a report published in 2008, researchers in Europe studied 390 children ages 6 to 10 and found that a nasal spray made from seawater relieved cold symptoms faster than standard cold medications. It's not certain whether the salt water simply helps clear the mucus or if trace elements in the water are beneficial. But other scientists who studied the effectiveness of saline nasal wash solutions also found benefits.

What you need

A neti pot, which looks like a very small watering can or teapot and is typically ceramic or metal.You can buy neti pots at drugstores, natural food stores, and online.

You'll also need a cooperative child. Your child must be old enough and willing to go along with the procedure, which isn't painful but does feel strange at first. It's definitely not for babies or young toddlers, and older children (and adults) might not go for it. Some people think it's neat, while others are grossed out.

How to use it

By tilting your child's head sideways over the sink and placing the spout of the pot in the top nostril, you can run water through the nasal passages to clean and moisturize them. This takes a little trial and error, but it's easy once you get the hang of it.

Try practicing on yourself before teaching your child to use a neti pot. Then let your child watch you use it. And finally, help him if he's up for it.

Here's the basic method:

1. Fill the pot with the warm saline solution.
2. Bending over a sink, tilt your head to one side and place the spout of the pot deep in the top nostril. The water will flow gently through the nasal cavity and out the other nostril. (Breath through your mouth while rinsing.)
3. Repeat on the other side.

It may be easiest to practice with your child in the tub or shower.

Cautions

Don't force a child who's not interested. This needs to be a very gentle procedure, to prevent both traumatizing him and damaging his nasal passages if he struggles
3) Nose blowing (2 years and up)

How it helps

Clearing the nose of mucus helps your child breathe and sleep more easily and generally makes him feel more comfortable. And he'll be nicer to look at, too!

What you need

A container of soft tissues.

How to do it

Many kids don't master this skill until after age 4, but some are game by age 2.

Tips for teaching nose blowing:

* Let your child copy you. For some kids, that's all it takes.
* Explain that blowing your nose is "backward smelling."
* Have your child hold one nostril shut and practice gently blowing air out one side. A mirror or a little piece of tissue under the nose will help him see his breath, too.
* Teach him to blow gently. Blowing too hard can hurt his ears.
* Give your child his own little package of fun tissues.
* Teach him to discard used tissues in the trash can and to wash his hands after blowing his nose.

If your child's nose is sore from all the sniffling and blowing, you can rub a little petroleum jelly or other child-safe ointment around his nostrils.

Find out more about when your child will be old enough to blow his own nose and how to teach him.
4) A bulb syringe (best for babies)

How it helps

Clears the nose of kids who are too young to blow their nose. A bulb syringe really comes in handy if a stuffy nose interferes with your baby's breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Try using it about 15 minutes beforehand.

Clearing a stuffy nose with a bulb syringe works best for young babies, but if your older baby or child doesn't mind the procedure, there's no reason not to do it.

What you need

* A rubber bulb syringe
* Saline (salt water) solution. You can buy bottles of saline nose drops at a drugstore or make your own.

Recipe for homemade saline drops: Dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Make a fresh batch each day and store it in a clean, covered glass jar. Bacteria can grow in the solution, so don't keep it for more than 24 hours.

How to use it

1. Tip your baby's head back and squeeze ten to 20 drops of saline solution into each nostril to thin and loosen the mucus. Try to keep her head still afterward for about ten seconds.
2. Squeeze the bulb of the syringe, then gently insert the rubber tip into her nostril.
3. Slowly release the bulb to collect mucus and saline solution.
4. Remove the syringe and squeeze the bulb to expel the mucus into a tissue.
5. Wipe the syringe and repeat with the other nostril.
6. Repeat procedure if necessary.

Don't suction your baby's nose more than a few times a day or you might irritate the lining of her nose. Don't use the saline drops for more than four days in a row, because they can dry out her nose over time, which would make things worse.

If your baby is really upset by the syringe, use the saline drops and then gently swipe the lower part of her nostrils with a cotton swab. It doesn't have the suction of the syringe, but it's better than nothing!

Cautions

Don't use nasal decongestant sprays on your baby unless her doctor tells you to. They may work for a bit, but they can also cause a rebound effect, making congestion worse in the long run.
5) Vapor rubs (3 months and up)

How it helps

Vapor rubs may help kids sleep better at night. Many of us remember being rubbed with a potent eucalyptus, camphor, and menthol vapor rub when we were sick as children. Research suggests that these ingredients actually have no effect on nasal congestion, but they make the cold sufferer feel as though she's breathing better by producing a cooling sensation in the nose.

What you need

You can now find vapor rub products made specifically for babies 3 months and older. The familiar commercial rub contains petrolatum, oils, and eucalyptus (though no camphor or menthol).

Natural vapor balms are available, too, if you'd prefer not to use products that contain petroleum or paraben. These are typically made with aloe, herbs, oils, beeswax, and essential oils. Search online for "baby rub," "baby vapor rub," or similar words.

You can also find recipes to make your own rub. Try searching for "vapor rub recipe natural" or something similar.

How to do it

Massage the vapor rub into your child's chest, neck, and back.

Cautions

Don't put vapor rub on broken or sensitive skin or apply it to your child's mouth or nose, around her eyes, or anywhere on her face, for that matter.
6) Gargling with salt water (4 years and up)

How it helps

Gargling with salt water is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. It also helps clear mucus from the throat. While scientists haven't determined exactly why it works, studies have shown that the remedy is effective.

What you need

Warm salt water.

Simply combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and stir. If your child doesn't mind the taste, a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice can be a soothing addition.

Your child must be old enough to learn to gargle. For many kids, that means school age or older. But some children can manage it sooner.

How to do it

Aim for gargling three or four times a day while your child is sick.

A few tips for teaching your child to gargle:

* Practice with plain water.
* Tell your child to tilt her head up and try to hold the water in the back of her throat without swallowing it.
* Once she's comfortable doing that, have her try to make sounds with her throat. Show her what that looks and sounds like.
* Teach her to spit out the water rather than swallow it.

7) Elevating the head (all ages)

How it helps

Elevating your child's head while he rests can help him breathe more comfortably.

What you need

Towels or pillows to raise the head of the mattress, or pillows to raise your child's head.

How to do it

If your child sleeps in a crib, place a couple of towels or a slim pillow between the head of the mattress and the crib springs. Never put towels or pillows in the crib with your baby, as they could suffocate him. Don't try to raise the legs of the crib, either. It could make the crib unstable.

If your child sleeps in a big bed, an extra pillow under his head might do the trick. But if he's at all squirmy while he sleeps, it's better to raise the head of the bed by sliding towels or a pillow underneath the mattress. This also creates a more gradual, comfortable slope than extra pillows under his head.

Another option: Let your child sleep in his car seat. Like many adults who sleep in a favorite recliner when they're ill, he may rest better in a semi-upright position. In fact, if your grade-schooler needs propping while he sleeps, he may slumber more comfortably in a recliner.

Cautions

Whether it's a crib or a bed, don't overdo it. If your child's a restless sleeper, he might flip around so that his feet are higher than his head, defeating the purpose.
8) Lots of rest (all ages)

How it helps

It takes energy to fight an infection, and that can wear a child (or adult) out. When your child's resting, she's healing, which is what exactly she needs to do.

Studies show that stress plays a role in illness, too. If your child is under pressure -- because of school or friends, or something happening at home -- giving her a break may be just what she needs to fight off her symptoms.

What you need

A comfortable place for your child to rest and things to occupy her.

How to do it

Now's the time to let your child watch that favorite video or television program one more time. Or bring her a new set of crayons and paper or coloring book. Even a puzzle can be manageable in bed.

Of course, a bed isn't necessarily the best place to rest. Sometimes a change of scenery is helpful. If the weather is good, set up a comfortable place in the yard or on the porch for your child to rest. Indoors, fashion something more fun than her bed -- like a tent in the living room or a snug, pillow-filled area near you.

If your child finds it hard to rest, help her by cuddling up with some books. Teach her some finger rhymes (like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider") or tell stories together. Or bring her the phone so she can chat with Grandma or a friend.
9) Steamy air (all ages)

How it helps

Breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages. A warm bath has the added benefit of relaxing your child.

What you need

A humidifier, cool-mist vaporizer, or steamy bathroom.

Be sure to clean humidifiers often (every three days is one recommendation), and according to the manufacturer's directions. Humidifiers accumulate mold, which they then spray into the air if they're not kept scrupulously clean.

How to use it

Have a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer going in your child's bedroom when she's sleeping, resting, or playing in the room.

Give your child a warm bath in a steamy bathroom. If she's old enough, let her play in the bath as long as she likes -- supervised, of course, unless she's old enough to hang out on her own. Adding a few drops of menthol, eucalyptus, or pine oil to the bath water (or vaporizer) may also help her feel less congested. These oils are available at most natural food stores.

If it's not a convenient time for a bath, simply turn on the hot water in the tub or shower, close the bathroom door, block any gap under the door with a towel, and sit in the steamy room with your child for about 15 minutes. (Bring a couple of books.)
10) Extra fluids (6 months and up)

How it helps

Drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dehydration, and flushes and thins your child's nasal secretions.

What you need

Fluids that your child enjoys drinking.

How to use it

Plain water is great, but your child might not find it very appealing. Try fruit smoothies and other favorite healthful beverages, and ice pops made from juice.

Cautions

Stick to breast milk or formula for babies younger than 6 months old unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Babies that young don't need water, and too much could even be harmful. Find out more.
11) Chicken soup and other warm liquids (6 months and up)

How it helps

Warm liquids can be very soothing and help relieve congestion. Studies have shown that chicken soup actually relieves cold symptoms like aches, fatigue, congestion, and fever.

What you need

Soup and tea or other warm liquids that your child likes.

How to use it

Serve soup warm (not hot). Canned soup works as well as homemade, according to researchers at the University of Nebraska.

If your child is at least 6 months old, she may enjoy some weak, lukewarm chamomile tea.

Cautions

There are other herbal teas that are safe for children, but consult your healthcare provider before trying herbal teas other than chamomile, as not all "natural" products are safe.

Stick to breast milk or formula for babies younger than 6 months old unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Babies that young don't need water, and too much could even be harmful. Find out more.

Run the humidifier, have her sip some warm water with a teaspoon of honey.
The honey will coat her throat, the humidifier will also help with throat irritation and sinus.

I am a mother of 5 w/ 2toddlers.

I have a 9 and 7 year old and have tried every cough medicine imaginable, including natural and homeopathic remedies. They don't work but for maybe an hour or two. The only way to stop a cough all night long is to rub Vicks Vapor Rub on the bottoms of the feet and cover with socks. You may have to reapply once throughout the night, but often times once does the trick! Good luck.

If it is a post-nasal drip causing the cough, you don't need a cough or cold medicine. You need something to dry it up and stop it, then the cough will cease or at least decrease. I believe Benadryl is still safe to use. If you could slightly recline your child while sleeping that would help too - I used to elevate one end of the crib/bed by putting small 2" blocks under the head side. But pillows work too. It really helps the drip to drain down the throat and will minimize the cough. Good luck.

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