Chest colds are a miserable experience for everyone, but it is especially difficult for parents when their babies have chest colds. There is little that can be done to help infants with chest colds and parents must wait for the virus to run its course. Because most chest colds are viral illnesses, antibiotics are not necessary unless the illness worsens. According to Dr. William Sears, cough and cold medications are not safe for children under age 4, so you must try some non-pharmaceutical home remedies to help make your baby more comfortable.
Run a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier. According to Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, a cool-mist vaporizer creates more moisture in the room where baby sleeps and can loosen his congestion. The moisture will soothe him and help him breathe more easily. Ask your pediatrician if it is appropriate to use a eucalyptus-based liquid, such as Vicks, in the vaporizer to relieve congestion.
Use saline nasal spray with a bulb syringe to suck mucus out of baby's nose. Saline is also known as salt water. According to the Mayo Clinic, saline spray can flush out the sinuses and thin the mucus to help baby breathe more easily.
Turn on the hot water in your shower and close the bathroom door. The room will fill up with steam. Sit in there with your baby for up to 20 minutes; the steam will help clear his sinuses. MayoClinic.com notes that this is especially helpful for croupy coughs.
Call the doctor immediately if your baby's skin turns blue while coughing, or if she stops breathing momentarily. Pay attention to the sound of a cough. If coughs become high-pitched and barky, like a seal, it can indicate croup. If coughs linger for more than five days without improvement despite home treatments, take your child to the doctor.
Never give cold medicine to an infant unless directed by your doctor.