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Cold and Flu Center

How to Ease a Nighttime Cough in Children

author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
How to Ease a Nighttime Cough in Children
A cough can keep your child awake at night.

You try to keep your kids healthy, but they always manage to get sick. With all the viruses and bacterial infections that cause coughing as a symptom, you’re bound to hear a cough coming from your child’s room at least once during the year. Coughing is the most common symptom of childhood illnesses and coughs are usually worse at night, according to There are several things you can do to relieve your child’s cough at night.

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Children's Nighttime Cough Relief

Step 1

Turn your shower on to the hottest setting and close the bathroom door. Sit with your child in the steamy bathroom for 20 minutes before your child goes to bed. The steam helps loosen the cough and soothes the airways.

Step 2

Place a humidifier in your child’s room. Dry air makes coughs worse and the humidifier will help relieve inflammation of the airways.

Step 3

Give honey to children over 2-years-old. Give a 1/2 tsp. for children 2 to 5, 1 tsp. for children 6 to 11 and 2 tsp. for children ages 12 to 18. If your child is under 2-years-old, but is older than four months, give him a teaspoon of warm apple juice before bed to relieve the nocturnal cough.

Step 4

Give cough drops or hard candy to children over 6-years-old before bed, but be sure your child does not go to bed with the drops in his mouth.

Step 5

Administer an over-the-counter cough medicine that contains dextromethorphan for severe coughs that keep your child awake. Do not give cough medicines to children under 4-years-old and only give cough medicine to children between the ages of 4 and 6-years-old if it’s recommended by your doctor.

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