Top Tips for Managing Coughs and Colds - survive the snotty season!

By Katherine Whitby - 12th November 2016

After a glorious Autumn, Winter seems to be upon us. There’s nothing like being prepared, so here are some top tips and a few essentials to have at the ready for managing the all too common, ‘common cold’. Before I had children of my own, as a Paediatric Nurse I thought a cold was as ‘minor’ illness as a child could get. However when my daughter seemed to be going from one cold to the next and we were having disturbed sleep it didn’t feel so minor!

As we know babies and young children are building their immunity when they come into contact with new viruses for the first time. Hence why a common cold is so called, as it is exactly that – common! A baby can catch between eight and ten colds before they reach the age of two! ( 2013)

Don’t despair! How many colds each little one catches will vary but here are a few vital tips to help get you through the snotty season, via (2013) Common Cold.


Colds in kids



What Can you Do to Help?

Raise the head of the cot or bed - this will help to drain mucus, relieve congestion and coughing. For under 1s put something under the mattress such as a rolled up towel, blanket, or use magazines under the legs of the cot. For children over 1 use pillows to help.

A Humidifier can moisten the air and help relieve a dry throat and nose. I have found this particularly effective, worthwhile investment. Otherwise putting a wet towel or flannel on a heated radiator can have a similar effect.



There are many products to ease nasal congestion available at your local pharmacy, which can be used for children and babies over 3 months.  Take a look at this video for a few of the most popular products.

Always check you are using the children’s’ version not adult as they will be too strong. 

Nasal Saline Drops for babies - this will help to loosen and drain the mucus. This is particularly effective before a feed. Keep them upright for a while after using them.

Vapour Rubs - These can be applied directly onto the skin but if you prefer rub onto vest, baby-gro or pyjamas. Beware not to put anywhere that they might rub it into their eyes. Some people swear by putting onto the soles of the feet and then put socks on……give it a go and let me know!

Vapour Drops and Capsules – these have a multitude of uses! Drops can be put into the bath which can work amazingly with steam, on bedding, on tissues to have beside them, anywhere you can think of! Again be wary of them rubbing any into the eyes.

Plug In Decongestants – these are brilliant and work all night!

Nasal Aspirators – differing preferences on these, some parents really recommend them, others don’t fancy the idea.  Use saline drops initially to loosen the mucous and then use with caution to prevent further distress.

Cough Linctus - is available to soothe a tickily throat and help everyone sleep! Use with caution long term, as they are suppressing the cough which is actually the body’s way of removing unwanted mucous from the chest.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website.

If you have any concerns about your baby, or your child has had a temperature for more than 3 days please do not hesitate to seek advice from your GP or phone the NHS on 111.

A problem shared is a problem halved – what are your top tips for managing a cold?!

Take Care,

Katherine x


Please note:

The information provided above is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor, health visitor, or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken by a user based on this information.


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