Home Remedies for Cough and Chest Tightness in Babies

Coughing and congestion are common in infants and young children. But many over-the-counter cough suppressants are not safe for them. Natural home remedies may help keep your child comfortable, Some of them are safe and effective.

This article looks at what causes coughing and congestion in babies, home remedies to try, and when to seek medical help.

Causes of Cough and Chest Tightness in Babies

Coughing and chest congestion in babies can be caused by:

  • Virus
  • germ
  • after nasal instillation

The virus just needs to go with the flow. Bacterial infections may require prescription antibiotics or steroids.

colds and bronchitis

The common cold and bronchitis are common viral infections that cause coughing in babies. They usually show up quickly and resolve on their own.

Bronchitis occurs when the bronchi (airways) become inflamed and produce mucus. Your child then coughs to break up the mucus and move it. Sometimes, bronchitis is bacterial and requires antibiotics.

A baby’s cough can also be caused by bronchiolitis. This happens when the smaller airways (bronchioles) constrict and make it difficult to breathe.

Causes of Chronic Cough

A persistent cough that doesn’t seem to get better may have a chronic cause, such as:

  • allergy
  • asthma
  • cigarette smoke
  • other environmental irritants
  • gastroesophageal reflux


Croup is caused by inflammation of the upper airway. This is usually caused by a virus. Fairly common in young children, it usually resolves on its own.

Croup causes a tight, barking cough. Your child may also be short of breath. In rare cases, croup can be bacterial and require a prescription drug. So if you think your child has croup, talk to your pediatrician.


Whooping cough (whooping cough) is a bacterial infection. It usually results in a prolonged cough followed by deep breathing. This breathing produces the “whistling” sound the disease is named after.

Other symptoms may be:

  • runny nose
  • sneeze
  • fever

Whooping cough is highly contagious, so make sure your child is vaccinated.

why you can’t stop coughing

post-nasal drip

Cough in babies can be caused by postnasal drip. At that point, mucus that comes out of the throat stimulates the cough reflex.

Postnasal drip may occur if your baby coughs only while lying down.


The viral cause of the cough may be the common cold, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, or croup. Some causes of bronchitis and croup are bacterial. Whooping cough is bacterial. Postnasal drip can trigger a cough when the baby is lying down.

home remedies

Rest and time are often the best medicines for a baby or toddler’s cough. Give them as much rest as possible while the virus spreads.

However, a cough can be uncomfortable, and it can keep your baby from sleeping well. But most cough and cold medicines are not safe for children under the age of 6. Home remedies may be a safe way to help relieve symptoms.

What kind of cough do you have?


Humidity aids coughing in two ways.

  • First, it helps to moisturize the sinus tissue. Dryness can lead to more mucus and a more severe cough.
  • Second, it keeps your child’s mucus thin. This makes it easier to cough.

A cool mist humidifier that runs for a few hours a day can go a long way.

Do not use a humidifier around the clock. Mold can grow on surfaces that are constantly wet. Empty and clean your humidifier daily to prevent bacteria buildup.

Breathing in steam is a great way to break down mucus and relieve a cough. Take a hot bath and sit next to your child. Let them inhale the steam. Keep them entertained with games, books, or other calming activities so they’ll be there for a while.


Keeping your child hydrated also thins mucus and prevents tissue from drying out. Good hydration options include:

  • water
  • broth
  • juice

Avoid orange juice as the acidity can irritate their throats. Milk is not a good choice because it increases mucus production.

To know if your child is well hydrated, pay attention to their urine. Frequent toilet visits and light-colored urine are good indicators. In babies, look for frequently wet diapers.

How to prevent dehydration

Do not give honey to children under the age of 1. It doesn’t help with a cough and can cause botulism (food poisoning) in babies.


A bulb syringe can help remove mucus from your child’s nose. This prevents congestion of the nasal passages and sinuses. To use one:

  • First, use saline nose drops to help break down mucus.
  • Then squeeze the air out of the bulb.
  • Gently place the tip into the child’s nostril.
  • Slowly release the bulb.
  • When the air re-enters, it pulls the slime into the bulb.

Continue until you no longer see the mucus coming out. Stop immediately if you notice mucus or blood in your nose.


A humidifier, good hydration, and a bulb syringe are safe and effective ways to clear your baby’s congestion and relieve a cough.

When to call a healthcare provider

Symptoms that always require a call to your child’s healthcare provider include a cough plus:

  • shortness of breath
  • shortness of breath, shallow breathing
  • breathing hard
  • wheezing or breathing loudly
  • cough up blood
  • They have blue lips, nail beds, or tongues
  • Any fever, if under 3 months
  • If more than 3 months old and the temperature exceeds 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • inability to eat or drink
  • weakness
  • irritability

You know your child best. Feel free to call your healthcare provider when you are worried about them.

When to Worry About Your Child’s Cough


Babies or young children may have a cough due to a viral illness (the common cold, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, or croup) or a bacterial infection (whooping cough, and some bronchitis and croup). Postnasal drip can cause them to cough when they lie down.

Home remedies include a humidifier, proper hydration, and a bulb syringe. Call your healthcare provider if your child has symptoms.

VigorTip words

It’s scary to hear your baby cough. Remember, it’s common and may go away soon. Do your best to keep your little one comfortable.

Feel free to call their healthcare provider if symptoms are worrying, get worse, or if you just feel a problem. They can give you peace of mind by telling you the best course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I engorg my baby?

    Cold medicine is not safe for children under the age of 4. Saline drops and spherical syringes can help clear their nasal passages.

    If your baby has a fever, you can give them Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Merrill (ibuprofen) infant or child formula.

    understand more:

    Knowledge about cold medicine for children

  • How can I relieve my baby’s congestion?

    You can use a humidifier, saline drops, bulb syringes, and good hydration to help relieve your baby’s congestion.

  • Can I use Vicks VapoRub on my baby?

    No, do not use Vicks VapoRub on children under 2 years old. Vicks makes the special formula Vicks Baby Rub for babies. Safe for babies over 3 months.

  • How to suck out baby’s bruises?

    Use a bulb syringe. First, squeeze the air out of the bulb, then place the tip into one nostril. Release the bulb to pull the mucus out of the nose. If the mucus is too thick to aspirate, dilute it with a few drops of saline.

    Doing this before meals can help congested babies eat better. However, inhaling more than four times a day can irritate the nasal passages.

  • Can a stuffy nose suffocate a baby?

    It’s rare, but possible. To help your baby breathe better, keep them upright. Seek immediate medical attention if they are still struggling or have any other warning signs.

    Warning signs include:

    • blue lips, nail bed, or tongue
    • cough up blood
    • laborious breathing
    • shortness of breath, shallow breathing
    • wheezing or breathing loudly