Grapes for Toddlers During Cold & Cough

Grape Juice with Ice
For a sick toddler, choose grape juice rather than whole grapes. (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

When a common cold or a virus-fed cough lays your toddler low, it’s frustrating to known that antibiotics or other prescribed medicines can’t help. Your child’s pediatrician is the expert source for the best over-the-counter medicines and foods to give her. It’s important to remember, however, that foods you crave when your throat is irritated and dry, such as grapes, may not be appropriate for toddlers.

Theory

Grapes have a reputation for having curative powers, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Historically, unripe grapes treated sore throats, while the riper fruits were employed for nausea and other ailments. While it is not known if grapes truly can treat specific illnesses, the fruits are antioxidant-rich and useful for promoting general health. For older children who have coughs and colds, the high water content of grapes provides much-needed hydration during illness, while offering antioxidant vitamins and compounds.

Safety

Whether they are sick or healthy, toddlers should not be given whole grapes, warns MedlinePlus. Grapes, along with other finger foods such as hot dogs, popcorn and raw vegetables, are choking hazards for children younger than 2. Halve, mash or peel grapes to reduce the chance of choking. Additionally, give your toddler soft fruits such as applesauce and diced pieces of canned or cooked fruits.

Alternatives

Serve grapes in alternative form by giving your toddler grape juice. Grape juice and other non-citrus fruit juices are nutritious, hydrating choices when your toddler has a cold or cough, notes KidsHealth. Children need fluids when they are ill, but orange juice and soda can irritate sore throats. MayoClinic.com additionally recommends warm liquids, such as broth or warm lemon water. Chicken soup helps relieve chest congestion, while acting as an anti-inflammatory to block harmful cell production. To keep chicken soup safe for toddlers, either cut noodles, vegetables and chicken into small pieces, or choose the “chicken and stars” store brands that use diced ingredients.

Home Treatment

A cool-mist vaporizer helps aid coughs and colds in sick toddlers without posing a burning hazard. Sitting in a bathroom next to a steamy shower may also help. In addition to a vaporizer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sore throat sprays for younger children for whom lozenges represent a choking hazard. Saline nasal sprays and soft tissue help relieve runny noses. For clogged noses and sinuses, place a heated washcloth over your toddler’s forehead and nose. Always ask your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers, cough suppressants and decongestants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that cough and cold medications may be dangerous for children younger than 4. Children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be appropriate painkillers for children older than 6 months, but be scrupulous about following dosage directions.

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