Is your toddler’s cold seems like it’s never going away? What are the safe and natural cold remedies that actually work? Are you looking to get rid of your child’s cold quickly so she can go back to daycare?
That was me every time the cold season hits.
When one of my kids got sick from school, germs get passed in our household and everyone got sick. Over the years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to cold home remedies for toddlers and babies.
What are common cold symptoms and how long does it last?
By definition, a cold is a viral upper respiratory infection, so no virus, no cold (1).
These nasty viruses are culprits to the tickly throat, a runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing. If there’s a fever, it is not high. A child with a cold usually feels quite well and has a good appetite and normal energy levels. (2)
The flu, however, is caused by the Influenza Virus. Although symptoms can be mild kids with the flu feel worse than if they have a cold.
Many people confuse cough with allergy as the symptoms are very similar. Before treating your baby with a cold, it is best to talk to your health care provider to determine what your child has.
Treatment plan for cold symptoms
Before we dive into cold remedies, we need to understand what causes your toddler’s cold symptoms so that we can tackle them one by one.
Your child is having cold symptoms because his immune system is working hard to fight off the virus.
So, we need to boost immunity internally and provide the perfect environment for their little bodies to do the work.
Cough and sore throat happen because of the virus attacking the upper respiratory system making the throat dry, itch, and inflamed.
Therefore, we need to treat cough and sore throat by giving something soothing.
Congestion and running nose can be attributed to the overproduction of mucus. The increased mucus can make your baby hard to breathe and blobs of snot running out of their nose.
We need to thin out the mucus in order to make it easier to drain out.
Are you ready to learn my best home cold remedies for toddlers and babies?
Continue reading below.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
Ways to boost the immune system to fight off cold virus
Homemade chicken soup
There’s some good old healing power in chicken soup.
Besides being soothing and easy to digest, its ingredients can help to relieve cold symptoms. The broth provides electrolytes and micronutrients to strengthen the immune system.
Although there are many variations, my basic chicken soup includes chicken leg, onion, scallion, ginger, carrots, and celery. Just add everything to a pot of boiling water and simmer for 2 hours.
I always use chicken bone rather than just chicken meat for soup. Bones are rich in vitamins and nutrients. It is also more flavorful when simmered for hours.
Onions, scallions, and celery have anti-inflammatory properties, while ginger has “warming” properties that speed up blood circulation. Carrots are also a nutritious vegetable and add sweetness to the soup.
You can toss all the cooked vegetables but save the chicken meat (should be falling off the bones!) for a different dish.
When time is short, I just put everything in my instant pot, cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.
I usually cook a big batch of chicken broth and add in other ingredients to make it a meal.
Onion is considered to be the most powerful natural antibiotic, which can fight off both viral and bacterial infections, and ease the symptoms of a cold.
Now, let me show you my secret on how I make onion “essence”.
- Put a small sauce dish in the middle of a pot
- place 1 chopped onion around the dish sauce
- Cook it in the rice cooker. I cook in this multi-functional rice cooker. Or you can steam the onions on the stove.
- Use a tongs to take out the cooked onions.
- What you have left in the sauce dish is essentially onion “essence”!
Foods to avoid when your child is sick with cold
Avoid all cold foods and drinks such as ice cream, cold juice, and salad. Cold foods not only make sore throat worst but make our immune system work harder.
If your toddler is having a lot of mucus, congestion, running nose, or wet cough, avoid foods that thicken the mucus. These include oatmeal, wheat, and dairy.
Needless to say, avoid spicy food as it will exacerbate cough.
I give daily multivitamin gummies to my toddler and I make sure I don’t forget to give him when he’s sick. A little boost of an all-rounded multivitamin will help support the body while it’s busy fighting the virus.
My son loves the Lil Critters Gummy Vites. It tastes just like real gummy bears but without too much sugar and artificial flavors.
Manuka honey lemon tea
We’ve all heard of drinking honey tea for cold. But do you know that not all honey is created equal?
Manuka honey has the most medicinal properties amongst all honey types. A small teaspoon can boost the immune system and prevent your toddler from getting sick.
I dissolve a teaspoon of manuka honey in hot water and add fresh lemon juice to the tea for some added vitamin C. I serve the tea lukewarm to my son and he always loves drinking it.
Only give honey to babies over 1 year old due to the risk of infant botulism.
Best tips to treat cold symptoms
Steamy warm bath to thin out mucus
The #1 tip we got from all the pediatricians is steam baths are best for running nose and congestion.
When my baby is sick with lots of running nose, I prepare a tub of water warmer than usual and have her sit in it. The steam really makes her nose run so I have to keep wiping her.
My secret weapon is the Frida Baby Vapor Bath Bombs. The essential oils in the baby-safe bath bomb are very soothing. It instantly calms a fuzzy baby making this a sick day essential.
Vaporub for a fuzzy baby
If your baby is fuzzy because she’s not feeling well, try rubbing Vicks BabyRub on her chest and feet. The ointment is specially formulated for babies that contain natural scents to calm, soothe, and relax your baby.
When my baby was coughing up a storm that she couldn’t sleep at night. I rub some on her chest and it really helped her fall asleep better.
Suction mucus out in baby
If your baby doesn’t know how to blow the nose yet, you need to help her drain out her snot. If the gooey stuff is left in the nose for too long, it will cause infection.
For babies, you can use the suction bulb or the NoseFrida Snot Sucker. I personally like the bulb suction better because the part that goes in the nostrils is smaller and you can section with just 1 hand.
Cooked pear is best for sore throat and cough
Steamed pear is a popular Chinese remedy for cough relief. It is believed that the combination of rock sugar and pear has certain medicinal benefits. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this dessert can reduce excessive phlegm to effectively ease coughs caused by the common cold.
The best part is that since this is a sweet dessert, the kids love them. Here’s a simple recipe.
- Wash the pear thoroughly and do not shave off the skin.
- Cut the pear top off and save for later. Scoop or cut out the core.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of rock sugar to the center and put the top back.
- Steam for 20-30 minutes.
You can serve the cooked pear as is or purée to make it into a “pear sauce” for babies.
Instill a good environment so your todler will get better quicker
Home is the best place to be
Rest is super important for recovery.
Avoid going outside, especially when it’s cold. In fact, studies have suggested that being cold might weaken the immune system, making us more vulnerable to those viruses (3).
Also, avoid taking your toddler to crowded indoor areas as that can increase exposure to other viruses in the air.
When my kids are sick, I make sure they get at least 12 hours of sleep per day. I would let my 4-year old watch some TV so that he can lie on the couch and just rest.
Think twice about tuning on the humidifier
Research also suggests that high indoor humidity may promote the transmission of flu. With high humidity, flu viruses expelled in a sneeze, for example, tend to attach to water molecules and may drop out of the air before they can trigger a new infection.
I used to always keep the humidifier on in my kids’ room when they sleep and even blast it up when they are sick. Ever since I learned that humidifiers can make the flu virus linger longer, I stopped turning it on and my kids actually got better quicker!
Ditch the heater
Running the heat to keep the house warm also dries it out — and can dry out the sinuses, too. When we don’t have good nasal mucus flow, it’s harder for the immune system to work against the virus.
The last thing you need to know about natural cold remedies for toddlers
There are many natural remedies you can use to help your toddler or baby feel better. One great thing to do is to make sure they stay hydrated with lots of rest.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas about what to do when your child is sick.
Tell me by leaving a comment below if there are other cold remedies you’d like to recommend.
Cold remedies for toddlers related articles
- How to get your child to sleep along
- Beginner’s guide to sensory box for toddlers
- 10 toddler fine motor activities you should do at home
Best home remedies for cold in toddlers that actually work
Save these pins to your Pinterest so you can come back to this post later.