How to Relieve Chest Congestion With Mucus in Kids

Despite your best efforts to keep your child healthy, at some point in time, germs are going to invade his body and cause a cold. Chest congestion is one symptom of a cold and it can cause coughing, difficulty breathing, interrupted sleep and mucus. Medication can help alleviate these symptoms, but you should never replace medical care with home treatments.

A child is in bed while her parent is pouring cough syrup. (Image: SvitlanaMartyn/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Use an over-the-counter medication to relieve the congestion and mucus. Look for a product that is age appropriate and contains a decongestant and expectorant. Together these medications help to thin out mucus and relieve chest congestion.

Step 2

Use a decongestant with antihistamine at bedtime. The antihistamine helps to put your child asleep and keep him asleep. Often times, chest congestion and mucus can keep children up coughing at night, decreasing the amount of restorative sleep they get.

Step 3

Use cough drops in children ages 4 and up. Cough drops help soothe a sore throat from coughing up mucus while also preventing coughing.

Step 4

Perform chest physical therapy on your child. According to Healthy Children, this technique helps to loosen mucus and allows the child to cough it up. Lay your child face down on your knees and gently tap their back with your hand.

Step 5

Put a humidifier in your child's room. The humidifier helps moisten the air and can clear up congestion.

Step 6

Make an appointment with the pediatrician. Call a doctor if your child is under two years old, his symptoms gets worse, there is no improvement with home care, he has an earache, swollen glands, chest or stomach pain, a fever over 100 degrees, shortness of breath, a worsening headache or if he can't keep any food down.

Things You'll Need

  • Medication

  • Cough drops

  • Humidifier


Do not give cough or cold medications to child under the age of 4. According to, there is a risk of overdose and there is a lack of evidence supporting their efficacy and safety in this age group.

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