Chest congestion often occurs in toddlers with colds, influenza and other infections. This congestion makes breathing difficult and makes your toddler feel generally uncomfortable. Home remedies may help relieve the chest congestion without over-the-counter medications, which are not recommended for kids under 2. And these medications may cause serious side effects in kids under 6.
Environmental changes to the home help relieve chest congestion in toddlers. Humid air helps loosen mucus congestion. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in your toddler’s bedroom, especially at night. Warmth also helps with the congestion, so turn up your thermostat if you normally keep your house cool.
An upright position can aid your toddler in keeping her chest clear. Prop her up on a coach or chair during the day. Pillows behind the back work well for creating a comfortable upright position. At night, prop up the end of your toddler’s mattress for an elevated sleeping position by tucking rolled towels under the head of her mattress. However, elevating the mattress might have the opposite effect if your toddler moves around a lot during sleep. She may end up at the foot of the bed, with her head lower than her feet.
Fluids keep your child hydrated, which is essential during any illness. Dehydration causes more complications when your child is already sick. Drinking extra water also helps thin the mucus in your child’s airways, allowing him to cough it up more easily and breath better.
Tapping your toddler’s back is one method of loosening the mucus that causes chest congestion. Place your child across your lap on his stomach, and pat her back with a cupped hand. Do this in a steam-filled bathroom for even more effectiveness. Over-the-counter vapor rubs help some children feel better. If your toddler also has nasal congestion, non-medicated saline nasal spray can help him breathe better.
Most colds that cause congestion clear up on their own. If your toddler doesn’t appear to improve after a few days or is having difficulty breathing, call his doctor. He may have more serious condition, such as pneumonia.