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HomeAges and StagesInfants and ToddlersThe do’s and don’ts of caring for your infant’s cold

The do’s and don’ts of caring for your infant’s cold


Tips for babies with colds

Here are some tips from Turner on ways to ease baby’s cold symptoms, a few things not to use and signs that it’s time to visit the pediatrician.

  1. Warm mist vaporizer. This is still the best symptomatic care for babies, Turner says. “I love the one you can put Vicks solution into and it blows the smell all over the room,” she says. “That helps to thin out secretions so they can sleep more comfortably.”
  2. Raise their heads. Elevating the head helps mucus drain better. Young babies can sleep in a swing or bouncy seat, older ones can have their mattress elevated at one end with a wedge or folded up towel under it to raise the head. Do not put pillows in the crib as it increases risk of SIDS.
  3. Nasal suction. Use the blue bulb given at the hospital or purchased to gently suck out secretions before eating and sleeping. Be careful not to be overly vigorous with the suction, which can actually lead to increased congestion, Turner says. Don’t waste money on battery-operated aspirators, which are expensive and unnecessary. Saline can be helpful but often makes babies feel like they are drowning and “they absolutely hate it,” Turner says. “Babies have such copies mucus pouring out of their noses they rarely need saline to clear it out.”
  4. Acetoaminophen for babies under 6 months with a fever. Ibuprofen for babies over 6 months with a fever.

Things to avoid:

  1. Over the counter cold and cough medicines. These are not recommended for children under 6. They are not proven effective and can have negative side affects, particularly in infants.
  2. Vapor rub. It is not recommended because it can be accidentally ingested, Turner says.
  3. Antibiotics. Most colds are viruses that cannot be helped with antibiotics. It is detrimental to a child’s health to be given unnecessary antibiotics.

When to be concerned:

  1. Fever in a child under 2 months, or one that last for more than three days or does not go down with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  2. Respiratory distress. “If parents have the sense that they are ‘breathing heavy’ or that ‘something is not right with her breathing’ that is concern for a more serious lung infection than just a cold.” A “rattle” in the chest, however, is not uncommon and not cause for concern.

“Colds are a normal part of life and while frustrating to deal with, they are a small blip in a child’s life,” Turner reassures. “My kids were sick for three solid years and now that they are older, they get one cold a year, so there is hope for exhausted parents everywhere!”

Tips for infants with colds from our Facebook fans

Beth Quathamer recommends California Baby Bubble Bath – Eucalyptus Ease for cold/flu. (Deemed natural due to natural products and minimal processing- for those concerned). Two bottles go for $26 on Google shopping. I love the stuff for my littles.

Rhona Bubniak Kerr says to try Hylands homeopathic cold medicine. Or Coldcalm also homeopathic.

Annie Bananie sticks with a humidifier and vicks on the feet under socks.

Deanna Prater Van Skiver says “Boogie Wipes saved us!”

TylerBronwyn Haden-Betz swears by NoseFrida. Google it, she says.

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