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Cough Medicines for Infants & Toddlers

Updated on January 8, 2015

There’s nothing worse than seeing your baby sick. They’re helpless, fully dependent on your every move to help bring them some relief. When they are stricken with a cough, though, it can be tough!

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Dealing with a Sick Infant

Generally in young infants, it’s recommended for them to ride the cold out. Cough medicines do not make a cold go away any more quickly, but they do provide symptom relief.

Most conventional cough medicines in the store are not for children under four years old. Reason being that many of them contain ingredients that are just not suitable for young babies, including alcohol. Let’s not forget that most of them contain artificial flavors, dyes, and other questionable ingredients that should probably just be left out of medicines (in a perfect world).

There are, however, a few brands that do make cough medicine for infants, specifically gearing their treatment toward the younger ones, and also some home remedies that you may wish to try. As a mother myself, I know how hard it can be to just stand idly by while a little one is in a coughing fit!

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Cough Medicine for Infants

Here’s the list of cough medicine for infants. Make sure you talk to your child's doctor before giving them any of the following:

  • Little Remedies Honey Elixir: This is made for babies older than 1 year. Infants cannot yet have honey, but this is perfect for those who have reached the age. It will help ease a sore throat and calm the cough.

  • Hyland's Baby Cough Syrup: This is a homeopathic medicine designed for babies 6 months and up. It is formulated to take care of many different kinds of coughs and boasts of using no artificial colors, dyes, or parabens!

  • Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup: Designed for babies as young as 2 months old, this is another homeopathic medicine company that’s wonderful. It will help ease a cough and sore throat, thus promoting relief for your little one!

  • Zarbee's Naturals With Mucus Reducer: This is the same as the aforementioned Zarbee’s medicine, but with added ingredients that help to combat mucus buildup, thin it out and get it out!

  • Similasan Cold and Mucus Relief: This one is designed for toddlers 2 years and older, but I’m including this because it’s still below the general age requirement for regular cough medicines. From personal experience, this works great!

  • Vicks BabyRub: This is like the Vicks Vapor Rub that adults use, but a less-potent version for babies 3 months and older. Not only does Vicks help open the airways for easy breathing, but many rub it on the soles of the feet and place socks on them before bed to soothe a cough as well.

Anything is worth a try when your baby is sick!

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Which home remedy has worked best for your Little One?

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Home Remedies for Cough Relief

Many of us are willing to try anything, and there’s a reason why many of these are commonly thought to work (because they do)! While not all home remedies will work for your little one, it simply won’t hurt to try. It really depends on the reason why your baby has a cough, whether it’s a cold, allergy, or simply just some dry air! Here’s some home remedies that you likely already have on hand:

  • Humidifier: A humidifier during sleepy time can make all the difference, especially if you live up north during the winter. The air gets dry and it can cause a cough. Also works well to loosen chest congestion. Placing a little Vicks in the humidifier can do wonders for the airways.

  • Honey: Not for children under the age of one year, of for those with known allergies, a teaspoon of honey can soothe the sorest of throats and calm that cough right down!

  • Pineapple Juice: I’ve come across this one recently and haven’t yet given it a try, but I plan to for the dreaded “next time.” Pineapples contain an anti-inflammatory enzyme that can suppress coughs better than cough syrup. The magic ingredient: Bromelain. It helps to kill harmful bacteria while fighting infection. Remember, fresh is always best!

  • Chicken Soup: Chances are, you grew up eating a lot of chicken soup when you’re sick, and that’s because it actually works at relieving fever, congestion, and other discomforts from illness.

  • Water: Simply drinking enough water can help keep the mucus thin and help clear it out of your system more efficiently. Water is one of the things that your body needs the most throughout life, and something so simple is easily forgotten.

  • Vitamin C: Up your child’s vitamin C intake whether it’s through citrus fruits or supplement drops. This will help boost their immune system giving them more of a defense against the nasty invader! Consult your baby’s pediatrician for appropriate doses to increase to if using supplements.

  • Saline Nose Drops: Keep those nostrils clear with a spritz of saline drops and a little suck from the bulb.

  • Rest: Last, but definitely not least, rest! When any of us are sick, it’s just what our body needs. Our body is telling us to slow down so that it has a better chance to fight the cold, so just be sure to lay that little one down, as hard as they can fight it sometimes!

We don’t have to watch our babies suffer, there’s quite a bit that we can try, it’s just a matter of knowing what’s safe and what to avoid. Cuddles always make them feel good too, don’t forget that!

How to Handle a Cough | Infant Care

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