When our children have a runny nose or cough, we only want to make them feel better. What can we do to ease their discomfort? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as applying the same medicines that work for us but in smaller doses. Natural remedies for children are often better.
Advice from Australia’s Therapeutical Goods Association recommends against giving over the counter cough and cold medicine to children under the age of six. Instead, natural remedies avoid the harmful side effects that come from cough and cold mixtures.
When resorting to pharmaceutical drugs to provide relief from the common cold, a doctor or chemist’s recommendation may be required. So, if your child feels unwell, try these natural remedies for children. They may help to ease your child’s discomfort:
Natural remedies can help with:
- Toddler coughs
- Congestion in babies
- Sore throats in young children
- A young baby’s tired cries
When your child feels unwell, you should always remain vigilant and see your doctor if symptoms persist.
Honey for toddler cough remedies
While honey is often used to help obscure the nasty taste of some medicines, there’s scientific evidence that it also helps soothe coughs. Give honey only to children who are older than 1 year of age. However, as far as toddler cough remedies go, honey comes highly recommended.
In the UK, recent medical guidance recommends administering honey before antibiotics for acute coughs. Acute coughs are short lasting and generally associated with upper respiratory viruses and colds. Honey helps to:
- Reduce nighttime coughing (frequency and severity)
- Aid sleeping and rest
- Avoid the use of antibiotics
- Avoid side-effects of over-the-counter medicines.
To help provide relief from colds, some parents mix honey with warm water and freshly squeezed lemon for added flavour.
Children under 1 year of age should avoid honey as it raises the risk of infant botulism. While honey goes down easily, it can also hasten tooth decay, so use it sparingly.
Baby congestion: how to ease that blocked up nose
Parents often worry about their baby’s breathing. When an infant has a blocked up nose that concern increases. Teaching a baby how to blow their nose is out of the question, so how do you relieve the cries of a cranky baby and clear their mucus?
Firstly, if you’re worried that your newborn child has a blocked up nose, it may be left over fluid from the womb. A sneeze or two in the first few days after the birth naturally helps to clear this from their nasal passages.
There are a few different causes that can block up a child’s nose:
- Dry air can cause the lining inside the nose to swell
- Irritants such as perfumes or smoke can also cause a baby’s nose to get stuffy
- A virus or cold enters the nose, and the sinuses create mucus to wash it out.
If your child’s stuffed up nose is caused by irritants, the best solution is to change your baby’s environment, so it is irritant-free.
Natural remedies for children with dry noses involve moistening their nostrils with a saline solution. This can be administered by drops available at the chemist.
Elevating the head with a pillow can help improve nasal congestion, but for a safe sleep environment, this is only recommended for older children. Your child may also benefit from the use of a humidifier or a cool-mist vapouriser.
A nasal aspirator or nasal suction bulb can also help to clear a wet runny nose, though their use requires patience and they’re not always practical.
Toddler and baby sore throat remedies
A sore throat isn’t as easy to soothe like a cough or runny nose. Viral and bacterial infections cause sore throats. As it’s not easy to know which one is causing your child’s discomfort, the best course of action is to seek your doctor’s advice.
If a child’s sore throat is caused by a viral infection, you can only treat the symptoms and not the cause. Often a runny nose or a cough comes with a sore throat. As well as trying the natural remedies we’ve already discussed, toddler and baby sore throat remedies include:
- Keeping your child hydrated
- Helping them get plenty of rest.
Regular sips of fluid and recommended doses of paracetamol or ibuprofen should help ease the pain associated with your child’s cold.
If your child is on solids, a warm salt-reduced broth made from chicken, beef or vegetables can assist with hydration. This natural remedy for children’s colds also provides extra hearty and nourishing nutrition.
Rest and cuddles are among the best baby cold remedies
When it comes to a sick child, nothing beats rest and cuddles from mum and dad. One of the best baby cold remedies is knowing you’re there to look after them. At Petit Early Learning Journey, we prefer sick children to be with their parents where they feel safe and secure.
For a low-grade fever, regularly check your child’s temperature. While you may be tempted to give paracetamol, if they’re happy and well enough, leaving the fever untreated may be the best course of action. A luke-warm sponge bath can help soothe your child if they’re in discomfort.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, recommends taking your child to a doctor if their fever lasts longer than 48 hours. You may also need to take them sooner if it worsens, or if other conditions exist, especially in babies under 3 months of age.
As your child’s carer, make sure to look after yourself too. Tuck into that broth and put your feet up when you can. Cuddles not only make our children feel better, but they also improve how we feel too.
Talk to Petit Early Learning Journey about our policies for children’s health
Our priority is to make Petit Early Learning Journey centres safe and secure for all children in our care. If your child feels unwell and is unwilling to participate in centre activities, or exhibits signs of illness, we will contact you to take them home as soon as possible.
You can talk to us about our health policies and wellness programs for children on a centre tour. Take the time to discover how Petit Early Learning Journey Educators can care for your child and inspire them to grow into a healthy individual with a lifelong love for learning.