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What do you do for toddlers with a runny nose and cough?

My almost 2 year old son has a bad phlegmy cough and his nose is running constantly. What do you moms do to comfort a sick toddler? They don't sell cough/cold medicine for kids under 4 years old. I've been rubbing Vicks on his chest and using the bulb syringe on his nose (which he hates - but his nose is raw from Kleenex), I have the humidifier going and am having him drink juice during the day. My MIL suggested honey to soothe his throat.

Any other suggestions or remedies you've used successfully? Or store products that are ok to use? I just want to ease the symptoms of his bad cold until he gets over it.

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Asked by Pollymom at 1:47 PM on Mar. 12, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 14 (1,544 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • How close is he to 2? If he's very close here is my suggestion...I'm sure someone will jump down my throat for saying this, but honestly all those cold medicines were recalled and warned about for being unsafe because of stupid parents who were overdosing their kids. Our doctor started prescribing DallergyDM (basically just pseudofed and guaifenesin) for my son when he was 2 and would get sick and it has been a lifesaver.  You can call your doc and ask, I mean it depends on what your doctors views are on the subject but it would be worth a try. 

    If nothing else steam up the shower real good and sit in the bathroom with him fo 15 or 20 minutes.  That always helps a lot.  And your MIL was right, honey really does help.


    Answer by aurorabunny at 1:51 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • tylenol cold plus......give them half of what the lowest dose is....that works wonders.

    if the child is congested get mucinex and do the same...

    the doctor told me i can give it to my 2 year its recom. for ages 4 and up or something like that or maybe older but the doc said it wouldnt hurt her as long as i didnt give her to much in a 3-6 hour time period

    Answer by BBKMommy at 2:01 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • I used a cold humidifier for him overnight and a hot one during the day. The hot ones have an additive that you can get that is basically menthol/eucalyptus that helps with their breathing. I would run the shower and get the bathroom really steamy and then I gave him a bath with the menthol (green bottle) J&J wash before bed. Vicks on his chest, neck, back and feet. Try giving him warm liquids to drink - tea with honey or hot cocoa. I tried to stay away from giving cold medicine since it only prolongs the cold and makes it move to different areas of the body but I did give him Tylenol nighttime stuff w/ the dosage cut in half.

    Also, don't be afraid to open the windows to get fresh air into the house to blow the germs out. The air could also help with his breathing. And lysol everything just to kill of the germs and beat the cold that much faster. I also used Clorox Anywhere on his toys.


    Answer by blogginmomma at 2:15 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • i just went and talked to my kids dr yesterday becuase they have colds..they're 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 and the dr said to give them a half tspn of robitussin DM every 6 hrs i think.(4 or 6) for your little one it would probably be a quarter can always call your pedi and ask, or go down there! GL

    Answer by tnteaton at 2:28 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • also, their dr. said they could take mucinex like the 2nd poster said. and like the first poster said, that reason is TRUE why they have all the recalls on medicines for our little ones..all the parents kept giving them more than they needed causing over doses

    Answer by tnteaton at 2:31 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • i agree with what everyone has said except when you put vicks on him you should put it on his feet then put socks on him. trust me this works! my son didn't cough all night when i did this!

    Answer by exxOHjackie at 2:40 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • eliminate all dairy(not just milk) - dairy is a mucus thickening agent. it won't cure your child, but will help cut down on the pleghm till he's better.

    and what everone else has said

    Answer by Kiter at 2:44 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • Put vaseline under his nose for the rawness. Saline spray for the nose for drainage. Warm baths with J&J menthol bathwash, a little honey for the throat and cough( 1 tsp. before bed should help a little too), steamy bathroom for conjestion followed by bundling him up and taking him outside for fresh cold air for 5 min. or so. You guys can play I spy outside. The dairy thing is true, the lactose in milk causes more mucus. You can find lactose free milk by NaturesValley in the health food section at Freddy's. This way your child can drink milk and you not have to worry about adding to the problem. Vics on the feet, true too! And Just Lots of Love and Attention! I'm a big fan of naturally letting the body go through the motion so it gets stronger and doesn't build resistance with medication.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:05 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • I agree with anon 3:05. This is the bodies way of taking care of things so we don't want to suppress the symptoms too much. Both my kids have runny noses right now and coughs. It causes problems sleeping so I use saline and breastmilk in their noses before bed with the syringe to clean things out warm humidifier after a steamy bathroom from the shower. Honey would be fine over 18 months according to my doc, but again you are suppressing symptoms which I don't agree with unless absolutely necassary. If using the vicks make sure it is the stuff for babies. There is an ingredient that isn't good for the young ones in the regular stuff (can't remeber off hand what it is).

    Also the meds weren't taken off the market solely because of parents overdosing, but because they were shown to not be effective on children under 4 years old so why risk the side effects if they don't work anyway?

    Answer by aeneva at 3:52 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

  • sounds like you're already doing most of what you can. replace the juice with water or pedialyte though. too much sugar (even from 100% juice) can be counterproductive to hydration. get the tissues with the lotion in them. Johnson's makes this mini deoderant-stick looking thing that has stuff for chapped cheeks. I have found it to be the BEST cure for runny-nose-chapping AND it's good for skin irritation in general too. warm baths help. OH and buy the vicks plug in thing-not the one that looks like a glade plug in that sits in the outlet, but the one with the cord that will sit on a table. It helps SOOOOO much and it lasts for 8 hours. It kept my nose clear all night the last time I had a cold.

    Answer by laadeedah at 4:00 PM on Mar. 12, 2009

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