Nasal Congestion Relief for Children


A runny or stuffy nose can be a good thing. After all, it’s the body’s way of getting rid of germs that are negatively impacting the body. However, that’s not always the case for your baby. When your baby has too much mucus, it can make it difficult to eat, sleep, or breathe.

We all know that we can’t give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under the age of four, so what home treatments exist to help relieve a baby’s stuffy nose?

Here are a few safe and effective home treatments that can quickly make your little one comfortable again.

Clear Up Stuffed Nasal Passages

Medicated nasal sprays aren’t recommended for children under four. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to clear up a stuffy nose without medication.

Use a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room. This will help break up mucus. Be sure to carefully clean the humidifier between uses to keep mold from developing in the machine.

Another option is the CLEARinse Nasal Cleaning System. CLEARinse allows your child to breathe easier and feel better – without the need for drugs. CLEARinse uses a custom pump system, recommended by doctors, that creates similar flow and pressure settings used in doctor’s offices and hospitals to clear noses. It is the only device on the consumer market that both irrigates and aspirates the nose, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends is the safest and most effective way to relieve nasal congestion in infants and children.


Place a cool-mist vaporizer, or humidifier, in your baby’s room. This helps clear their stuffy nose as the room fills with steam. Clean the machine regularly so mold doesn’t grow inside it.

Can’t get a hold of a vaporizer? Sitting in a steamy bathroom with your child can get the same effect.

Offer Plenty of Fluids

Your child may not feel as thirsty as they normally would, and they may be uncomfortable when drinking – encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.

Dehydration can be serious in infants, especially if they are under three-months-old. Call your pediatrician if you suspect your child is dehydrated. Some signs may include:

  • No Tears when Crying
  • Dry Lips
  • Soft Spots that seem Sunken-In
  • Decreased Activity
  • Urinating less than three to four times in 24 Hours

If your child is breastfed, attempt to breastfeed them more frequently than usual. Your baby may be less interested in breastfeeding if they are sick. You may have to have several short feeding sessions in order for them to consume enough fluid.

Loosen the Cough

If your child is older than one, give honey for a cough. You can give two to five ml of honey a few times during the day. Studies show that honey is safer and likely more effective than cough medicines for cold and flu relief.

Promote Rest

Extra rest can help your child recover faster.

Your child may be very hot due to fever. Dress them comfortably and avoid heavy blankets or excessive layers. A lukewarm bath can also help your child cool off and wind down before taking a nap or going to sleep for the night.

See Your Child’s Doctor

Sometimes even the best at-home care isn’t enough to help your little one make a full recovery. Call your doctor right away if your child:

  • Has a fever greater than 101°F for more than two days, or a fever of 104°F or higher for any amount of time
  • Has a fever of 100.4°F or higher and is under three months
  • Has a fever that will not get better after taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Seems unusually drowsy or lethargic
  • Will not eat or drink
  • Wheezing or is short of breath

Remember: Never give cough or cold medicines to kids under age four. If your child is between four and six, talk to your doctor about which drugs are OK to use. For immediate relief, the CLEARinse Nasal Cleaning System is a great solution.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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