What is the Best Way for a Child to Sleep When Coughing?

If your child has been lying awake at night with a hacking cough, you can help make his night more bearable. Most likely, your child's cough is caused by a cold or the flu. If your child's cough lasts more than a few days or is accompanied by any serious symptoms, consult a doctor. With home remedies and a little love from you, your child can have a more restful night, even when he has a cough.

Child sleeping on their side. (Image: David Buffington/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Step 1

Place a tall glass of water by your child's bed for her to drink during the night. Drinking plenty of water will keep your child's body hydrated, which loosens mucous, says Robert C. Beckerman, M.D., professor of pediatrics and physiology and section chief of pediatric pulmonology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans in "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Step 2

Elevate your child's head with an extra pillow if your child is having trouble breathing without coughing.

Step 3

Open the door to your child's room and the door to the closest bathroom. Run hot water in the bathtub for 15 minutes, or until the steam from the bathtub flows into your child's room. If the bathroom is not close enough to the bedroom, stand with your child in the steamy bathroom for a few minutes before getting into bed.

Step 4

Turn the heat down while your child is sleeping. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to make your child's room colder when she's sick, keeping the heater on full blast may make the air in your home dry, making the cough worse.

Step 5

Run a cool-mist humidifier in your child's room, as long as the device is clean. A dirty humidifier may spread bacteria into the air, which can be absorbed into your child's lungs.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass

  • Pillow

  • Humidifier

Tip

Clean your humidifier at least three times a week with diluted vinegar.

Warning

Consult a doctor before using home remedies to treat your child's cough.

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