Tried & Tested Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in infants , Toddler and Kids that actually Work
Effective natural remedies for cold, cough and chest congestion in children
How to treat cold and cough in kids
Sometime back, I was talking with a friend and we started exchanging home remedies for cold and cough in babies and kids and that’s when the idea for this post struck me. My dear friend whose 3 years has recently joined play school has been complaining about cold and cough almost every week. It pains her when her doctor prescribes antibiotics for chest congestion, cold and cough whenever she takes her daughter to him.
I still remember how my little girl suffered from cold and cough almost every month when she was 6 months old to 1 year old. I was lucky to have found a doctor who believes in allowing child to develop immunity and does not prescribe many medicines. But I used plenty of home remedies to relieve her symptoms of cough, cold or chest congestion till she recovered. Touchwood, things have improved significantly ever since she turned 5.
I am big believer of home remedies and have used these cold and cough home remedies for my daughter ever since she was a baby. Parents depend on home remedies because they are not full of chemicals and can be easily tried with things available around the house, specially the kitchen.
So, this post is about simple home remedies for cough and cold in babies, toddlers and kids, which we have classified according to age for was of use. These remedies can also be used for adults too.
Now all remedies may not be safe for babies and young children, so we are doing an age-wise list here. Hope it helps all parents.
Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in Babies below 6 months
This age can be really tricky, as cold can be very troublesome for babies and you have to be very gentle when administering any treatment. In this age, all you should do is to relieve the symptoms, while letting the body recover.
The best treatment for cold and cough or any other ailment for babies below 6 months is breastmilk. Breastmilk passes antibodies from mother’s body to baby’s body thus helping them to fight the infection and building their immunity at the same time. Thus, breastmilk is the best home remedy to treat cold and cough and fever in babies. You will find that baby will not want to breastfeed for too long when s/he has cold and cough, so it is recommended to increase the frequency of breastfeeding when baby is sick from cold and cough.
2) Nasal Saline drops and Aspirator to help relieve congested nose
A congested nose can really bother little ones as they are not able to breathe through mouth too, and they cannot blow their nose. It even makes it difficult for them to breastfeed/ bottle-feed, making them even more cranky. Nasal saline drop is just over the counter sterile saline water which can be put in infant’s nostrils to loosen the mucus, which you can then gently take out using a bulb or tube aspirator. It is one of the simplest cold and cough home remedies for babies. In fact, you can continue this treatment till your child is 4-5 years old and is able blow her nose by herself.
3) Mist vaporiser/ Humidifier
This is again one of the most effective, tried and tested home remedies for cough and cold in babies, which helps to loosen the mucus and makes breathing easier by relieving congestion. I now use a humidifier regularly since my daughter does not like to take steam.
Read our review of Crane Humidifier here
If you want to give steam to your baby, the best way is to run a hot bath and close the door so that the bathroom is full of hot steam. Now sit there with baby for 10-15 minutes. You may also keep a humidifier in room as it gives cool mist which is safe and babies usually feel more comfortable around them.
4) Mustard oil massage
This is an age-old home remedy for cough and cold for babies, which both my mother and mother-in-law have used and even I use it now. This is not only safe for babies, it is also very good for older children and even adults.
How to make garlic mustard massage oil to relieve cold, cough and chest congestion in babies:
Heat about 100 mls of cold pressed (kachchi ghani) mustard oil.
Add 8-10 cloves of garlic cut into pieces.
Heat this mixtures till garlic turns black.
Now filter this oil and cool slightly.
Massage baby with this oil while still slightly warm.
Apply generously on chest, back, palms and bottom of feet.
Give a warm bath after massage.
This is very effective and you will immediately see relief.
4) Appropriate dressing to avoid catching cold
It is important to cover baby’s chest and back with snug-fitting clothes to protect from cold. Also, cover feet and head as well as ears when going out. Sometimes, parents tend to overdress the baby in an effort to keep them warm. That too is not good. If you see that baby is sweating because of too many layers, change clothes after you wipe the sweat as that too can cause cold.
5) Rest, Rest, Rest
When baby is suffering from cold, cough and congestion or any other ailment, allow baby to sleep as much as possible. Sleep helps their tiny bodies fight infection and recover. This applies for all ages.
Home Remedies for Cough and Cold for Babies above 6 months
You may try some more cold and cough home remedies for babies above six months, in addition to the ones listed above.
6) Steamy air
Steam is the among the most recommended home remedies for cough and cold and for easing nasal congestion in children of all ages. For babies, it is best to run a very hot bath, thus making the bathroom steamy and moist. Close all doors and windows and sit with baby inside for 10-15 minutes. Take something along to engage baby during this time. For older children, you may use a vaporiser or a pot full of hot water, cover the head with a towel and tell the child to breathe the steamy air. Stay careful and observant during this , as steam can be dangerous.
7) Carrom seeds / Ajwain
Ajwain or carrom seeds are naturally warming in nature and have been used in many home remedies to relieve cold and cough in babies
Dry roast a teaspoon of carrom seeds on a pan for a minute till it gives smell.
This smoke can be taken directly by an elder kid, but for babies you may tie this in a muslin cloth and keep it near baby’s pillow. It will help in breathing.
8) Another Ajwain home remedy
You may also make a massage oil by heating ajwain seeds in mustard oil, cooling and filtering. This oil massage also helps in relieving symptoms of cough and cold.
9) Tulsi water
See how to make tulsi water for babies to relieve cold and cough.
10) Increase Fluid Intake
After 6 months you may give a few spoonfuls warm water at regular intervals. Increased frequency of breastfeeding will also ensure baby is hydrated and recovers fast.
11) Hot soups for warmth and comfort
You may also give warm tomato or vegetable soup with a little pepper powder to baby. If chicken has been introduced, you may even give plain chicken soup. Soups are warming and also provide fluid to body which is essential when recovering from cold. Breastmilk or formula is still essential and it can be the single biggest source of nutrition and comfort for baby when suffering from cold.
Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in Toddlers (1-3 years old)
12) Honey Lemon Water
This is my favourite remedy for my daughter.
Squeeze quarter of a lemon to 1 cup of luke warm water and add 1 teaspoon of honey to this. Stir well and give to toddler at regular intervals.
13) Turmeric milk
Turmeric milk is another age-old remedy to counter cold, congestion and cough, which is very effective. Turmeric has antiseptic properties and works against viral infections like cough and common cold. Add quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric( haldi) in 1 cup of warm milk and give to your child at bedtime or breakfast.
14) Tulsi and ginger tea
Boil 8-10 tulsi leaves and 1/2 inch piece of ginger grated in 300 mls of water. Boil till water reduces to half. Cool and give to your toddler using a spoon. If your toddler is not able to take it, you may also add a little honey or palm sugar.
15) Onion and honey Cough syrup
Add one medium chopped onion to a half a cup of honey and keep covered overnight. You can give this natural cough syrup 2-3 times a day.
16) Tal Mishri or Palm Sugar
Palm sugar or tal mishri is very popular as a home remedy to soothe itchy throat and cold in West Bengal.
How to Use:
1) You may use it in tulsi and ginger tea also. Just put a piece of this mishri into water boiling.
2) Take equal amounts of almond, black pepper and palm sugar candy and make a fine powder. You can give a teaspoonful of this powder everyday during winter to toddlers and kids. You may mix this powder in milk too.
17) Eucalyptus Oil/ Nilgiri ka tel
Eucalyptus oil also known as Nilgiri ka tel is a common ingredient in most cold and pain balms and is very effective in relieving stuffy and blocked nose.
How to use:
For babies and toddlers, you may put a few drops in a muslin cloth and keep near the bedside, to help inhalation.
For kids, you may apply a little on forehead or put a few drops in water for steam.
18) Hot khichdi
This is one of my mom’s goto home remedies for cough and cold when we were kids.. Whenever one of us would be sick, this was our meal to be.
Khichdi like soups warms up your body and provides nourishment as well as comfort. Make well-cooked and thin khichdi for sick child and add garlic and little ground pepper to it. This works for all ages.
19) Sleeping Position
Raising the head while sleeping can make breathing easier. You may put an extra pillow under your child’s head. Seeping on side is also known to make breathing easier.
Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in Children above 4 years old
20) Ginger and garlic
Include ginger and garlic in everyday cooking for the whole family. They are not only good for warding off cold, but great for overall immunity of body.
21) Salt water gurgle
Older kids can gurgle with salt in warm water. It is a proven and one of the most recommended home remedies for soothing sore throats.
22) Salt and Turmeric Water gurgle
If there is infection in throat or child is coughing incessantly, add a pinch of turmeric to warm water along with salt. It heals badly sore throat.
23) Turmeric, ghee and jaggery balls for relieving fry cough
This is a tried and tested home remedy for cold and congestion that I use for my daughter all the time.
Mix 2 tbsp organic jaggery, 1 tbsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tbsp ghee.
Make during small balls of this mixture and give to child 2-3 times during the day to relive dry cough.
24) Nutmeg & ghee
Rub a little nutmeg on a grinding stone and add a few drop of ghee to this. Apply this on child’s forehead to relieve symptoms of cold.
Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in Children above 8 years
25) Fresh ginger
Cut fresh ginger into tiny pieces. Tell the child to keep this in mouth. It can relieve chronic cough and cold. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer.
26) Raw turmeric
Similar to ginger, raw turmeric can also be cut into small pieces and kept in mouth to relieve cold and cough.
27) Kadha/ Spiced tea for cold and cough
Heat 300 ml of water. Add 1/2 inch ginger piece, 5-6 crushed peppercorns, 2 cloves, 3-4 tulsi leaves and 1 small piece of mishri or sugar. Boil till it becomes half. Strain this kadha and give to your child while still hot.
28) Homemade Cough Syrup for cold and cough
2 tsp ginger juice + 2 tsp honey + 1 pinch haldi + 1 pinch Salt + juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp glycerin
Mix them all together and give 1 tsp after every 2 hrs.
29) Ginger-turmeric homemde cough syrup
Add 1/4 tsp grated turmeric or organic turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp of grated fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder to 1 cup of water and boil for 8-10 minutes. Cool down slightly and add 1 tsp honey to this syrup and drink.
30) Turmeric Water Steam home remedy for Cold and Cough
Add a dash of turmeric to your steam water to open your child’s congested nasal passages.
Read more on how to improve immunity naturally with food
31-34 ) You may also use these effective home remedies for dry cough in children
35) Besan ka halwa to relive congestion and cold
This is another very popular home remedy for cough, cold and congestion in children and adults alike. Read about in detail here along with step by step and video recipe.
36) Jaggery syrup for relief from chest congestion
Take 1 cup of water and put on fire. Add 1 tablespoon jaggery,1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds. Bring it to boil and let it simmer till quantity becomes half. It will give you relief from chest congestion.