12 Natural Cold Remedies for Toddlers that Actually Work

by Holly
home cold remedies for toddlers

Is your toddler’s cold seem like it’s never going away? Are you looking to get rid of your child’s cold quickly so she can go back to daycare? What are the safe and natural cold remedies for toddlers that actually work?

That was me every time the cold season hit.

When one of my kids got sick from school, germs get passed into 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.

Here are 12 natural cold remedies that actually work for toddlers, straight from a mom of two!

This post is all about natural cold remedies for toddlers.

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 healthcare provider to determine what your child has.

Treatment plan for cold symptoms

best natural cold remedies for toddlers

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 run 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.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

Ways to boost the immune system to fight off the cold virus

Homemade chicken soup

best cold remedies for toddlers

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, and 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.

cold sore remedies for toddlers

Here is Baby W’s lunch when he was sick. I added frozen mixed vegetables, lentil pasta, chicken leg meat, and some salt to the broth. He ate it all!

Onion soup

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.

home remedies for cold and cough babies

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 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 worse but also 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 among 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 runny noses, 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 and contain natural scents to calm, soothe, and relax your baby.

When my baby was coughing up a storm 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 her 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.

homeopathic cold remedies for toddlers

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 toddler 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 turning 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 them 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.

Instead of turning up the heater, keep your toddler warm with a heavy, breathable blanket, or a cozy sleeping bag.

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.

Natural cold remedies for toddlers related articles

Best natural cold remedies for toddlers that actually work

Save these pins to your Pinterest so you can come back to this post later.

natural cold remedies for toddlers
home remedies for cold toddlers

You may also like


Dana November 19 - 12:14 pm

This post is perfect timing because my three-year-old woke up this morning with a little cold. All of these ideas are great. I never thought of cooked pear! We’ll have to try this.

Jodie the Mom November 19 - 2:08 pm

I always like to try natural remedies first. These are great suggestions.

Justine November 19 - 6:31 pm

Great list of suggestions for cold remedies for kids!

I love doing manuka honey for myself!


Leave a Comment