Coughs in toddlers are fairly common and their causes range from bacterial infections to viral fevers. Cough is usually accompanied with cold in toddlers but often different kinds of cough like croup or barking cough occur on their own. During such times, their bodies produce excess phlegm and this cause discomfort, especially at night. Most toddlers are unable to sleep well because lying down aggravates the problem.
As per research, using over-the-counter medicines for cough are not suggested for kids below 5 years. There is no medical proof that these cough medicines work. Also, there are side effects and long term impacts of the ingredients in the cough syrup. But there are other ways to treat and soothe toddler cough, here are some of them-
1. Humidifier or Steam Bath
One of the most recommended home remedies for treating and soothing toddler cough is a humidifier or a steam bath. Cold humidifiers are suggested for infants and barking cough or croup, but with older toddlers one can use warm humidifiers too. Even if you don’t have a humidifier at home, a steam bath is highly recommended as it loosens the thick mucus and helps the throat passage to clear up much faster. Just close the bathroom door and steam up the entire place, sit there with your toddler for about 10 minutes.
2. Essential Oils
There are various kinds of essential oils that can be used as a vapour rub. Vicks and other vapour rubs are not suggested for younger children as they lead to serious respiratory problems. But using essential oils like Eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile or even tea tree, you can create your own vapour rub. Take a few drops of a chosen oil (make sure it is not too strong for the baby). Then mix it with olive oil or beeswax and apply gently on the chest and back and feet of the toddler. You can also use these oils in steam baths.
3. Homemade Cough Syrup
For this easy to make cough syrup, you need to combine about 4 spoons of honey with 1 spoon of grated ginger or juice and 3-4 spoons of apple cider vinegar. To this add about half a cup of water. Store all of the ingredients in an airtight container and store. You can keep on giving one spoon of this cough syrup to your baby at a time and repeat thrice a day. This is a great cough syrup that has no side effects and is free from chemicals.
4. Honey And Holy Basil
An ancient remedy that is used for centuries would be mixing the juice of a few leaves of holy basil or tulsi along with a spoon of honey. In this reference remember that honey is permitted only for toddlers, not for infants. Wash and puree a few leaves of basil in a mortar and pestle or even the blender. Add a spoon of honey to it. The basil has antibacterial and healing properties, while the honey soothes the throat and provides relief from constant coughing. Give early in the morning on an empty stomach for best results.
5. Mustard And Garlic Massage
Night cough is a menace for toddlers and a garlic and mustard rub provides night long respite. For this remedy heat a cloves of garlic in mustard oil till it becomes black. Strain the liquid and then rub it gently on the feet of the toddler. You can apply the same on the back and chest too, but wipe off before sleeping.
6. Pull On Socks
Pull on a pair of cotton socks so that the heat doesn’t escape, especially in winters. Wearing socks at night also helps to keep the feet warm, which in turn also provides better heating to the entire body and the toddler can sleep better. One can also apply the essential oil vapour rub or mustard oil on the feet.