If your child’s constant coughing is keeping them (and you) up at night, try some of these home and pharmacist-approved cough remedies that could help them on the road to recovery.
With cold and flu season now in full swing, the chances are, your little one is likely to catch a cold at some point during the winter season. Coughs and colds are common in young children, so don’t be alarmed if illness strikes from one week to the next. In fact, exposure to these germs helps to develop their immune systems, and fight off infections naturally.
Of course, you need peace of mind that your child’s cough is nothing more sinister — if you’re concerned at all, pay a visit to your GP so they can give them a thorough examination. Although, more often than not, it’s purely a virus that they have to fight off.
A regular cough can last up to two weeks, which can be challenging for both them and you! But thankfully, there are some helpful treatments that can speed up the recovery process.
So, to stop your child from feeling down in the dumps (and tossing and turning all night), try some of our home and pharmacist-approved cough remedies that are suitable for toddlers and young children.
These treatments are guaranteed to relieve their symptoms and stop your child from coughing all through the night.
How to Stop Your Child Coughing at Night: 9 Cough Remedies That Work
1. Keep their head elevated
If your child is over 1 year, arrange a few pillows under their back, shoulders and head so that they can sleep in a slightly upright position. This helps them to breathe more easily and in turn, helps to ease their coughing.
2. Drink lots of fluids
Keeping little ones hydrated is particularly important when your child is sick. Water helps the body fight illness and keeps airways moist and strong. Water also thins mucus secretions, which helps to drain any excess mucus that could be causing congestion and coughs. Make sure they are fully hydrated throughout the day, and give them a glass of water before bed in case they wake up in the night.
As a general rule of thumb, this is how much water a child should drink per day:
- 5 to 8 years old: 5 glasses (1 litre)
- 9 to 12 years old: 7 glasses (1.5 litres)
- 13 years old and over: 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres)
However, it’s a good idea to encourage them to drink extra fluids when they’re sick — the more water they drink, the quicker the mucus will be expelled from the body, and that means quicker recovery and less coughing!
Replacing lost electrolytes when a child is sick is a great way to enhance fluid that has been lost, especially when they've also been vomiting or have had diarrhoea. Hydralite is great for both dry and chesty coughs.
Berocca Performance Effervescent Orange 15 Tablets
Hydralyte Apple Blackcurrant Effervescent Electrolyte 20 Tablets
VOOST Multivitamin C + Minerals Effervescent Tablets 20 Pack
3. Use a nasal spray or saline solution
Using a nasal spray or saline drops help to clear the nose and break up any mucus. Just follow the instructions on the bottle to administer the nasal drops safely. You may want to use saline drops before bed or in the middle of the night if your toddler wakes up coughing, to help relieve their symptoms.
We love Fess Little Noses Nasal Spray for babies 0-2 years, and FESS Children's Nasal Spray for 2yrs+
Mundicare Kids Cold Defence Nasal Spray 20mL
Brauer Baby Saline Nasal Spray 30mL
FESS Children's Nasal Spray 2 Years+ 20mL
4. Take lozenges to soothe the throat
Constant coughing can cause the throat to become sore and painful — coughs and colds are usually accompanied by a sore throat — so taking something to help soothe the pain will make them more relaxed come bed time, and kill off any harmful bacteria that could cause further illness or infection.
Children over 6 can take Strepsils Lozenges, which contain an effective combo of antibacterial agents to help kill the bacteria that can cause sore throats and mouth infections, whilst at the same time providing soothing relief from discomfort and pain.
Sambucol Kids Soothing Throat Pops 8 Pack
Vicks VapoNaturals Lemon Menthol Throat Lozenges
Strepsils Sore Throat Lozenges
5. Massage with Vicks
For children over 2, massage Vicks VapoRub Ointment Decongestant Chest Rub on their chest and throat before bedtime to reduce coughs and congestion. Infused with camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol, this vaporising ointment works to unblock noses, relieve coughs and soothe sore muscles, aches and pains. A nightly dose should help your child sleep more restfully at night.
For babies under 2, use Vicks BabyBalsam made with a relaxing combo of rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus and extract of aloe vera.
6. Try a cough syrup
For children aged 6 and above, cough syrups like DURO-TUSS Expectorant Cough Liquid work to break down and clear excess mucus from the chest, which in turn, helps to relieve the urge to cough. It can also cause slight drowsiness, so it may also help your child to rest through the night. The pomegranate flavour is also very kid-friendly, so it won't be hard getting little ones to swallow.
Sambucol Kids Cough Oral Liquid 120mL
Vicks Chesty Cough Syrup 180mL
Brauer Kids Manuka Honey Dry Cough 100mL
7. Steam up the bathroom
Run a hot shower and turn your bathroom into a steam room 15 mins before bed, and 15 mins in the morning to help loosen chest and nasal congestion. The steam helps to loosen chest and nasal congestion, making it easier for them to cough or blow it out when they have trapped mucus from a chesty cough. As an added measure you can pat their back and chest lightly using open palms (like you are burping them) to help break up congestion. This will hopefully clear away any mucus or phlegm before they go to bed, encouraging them to breathe a little easier, and hopefully sleep more soundly.
8. Use a humidifier
Use a cool-mist humidifier all night to keep your child’s airways clear and moist. Open the windows first thing in the morning to air the room, humidity in the room can cause mould to grow which can make congestion worse.
Try the Able Ultrasonic Vaporiser, it works miracles by adding more humidity to the air. The low humidity in winter can inflame and dry out the mucous membrane lining in your respiratory tract, which increases the risk of a cold, flu, and other infections like coughs. Flu germs and other viruses survive and spread more easily in dry air conditions, so boosting your indoor humidity level makes it less likely for germs to survive and transmit to those around you.
Able Ultrasonic Vaporiser
Taav VaporPro Vaporiser
Vicks WarmSteam Vaporiser
The Able Ultrasonic Vaporiser's ultrasonic frequency creates fine water droplets that evaporate into the air as a cool fog, helping you to breathe easier and stop winter germs dead in their tracks.
Double up with Vicks VapoSteam Double Strength. Add a few drops to your humidifier and allow the soothing vapours of eucalyptus and peppermint to penetrate nasal and throat passages, which help to gently soothe and comfort
Vicks VapoSteam Double Strength Inhalant 200mL
Euky Bear Sniffly Nose Inhalant 200mL
Able VapourMist Essential Oils 125mL
Be sure to keep your humidifier clean with Euky Bear Vaporiser Cleaning Tablets. Just pop one or two tablets in with your steam inhalent and it will clean at the same time.
9. Give them a teaspoon of honey
For children 1-6, a spoonful of honey will work as a natural soothing agent for sore throats. Some studies show that it also works as a natural remedy to relieve dry cough symptoms too, as it has antibacterial properties that can help fight off infections. Give them a teaspoon before bed, or infused into some warm water for added hydration.
Loved our advice on child cough remedies? We've got plenty more health advice on our Health & Wellness Edit, guaranteed to give your body a well-deserved boost. Want to know if it's safe to take someone else's antibiotics? Plus, do you know the difference between over-the-counter and practitioner-only supplements? Here's everything you need to know.