Home Care GuidesBreathing Trouble

Breathing Trouble

Here's what you should know

Most of the time, a kid with breathing trouble should be evaluated by a provider the same day.

Home care tips

If your child simply seems to have a snotty congested nose, or the noisy breathing seems to be coming from all of the boogers in their nose, here are some tips you can try.

  • Suction your child's nose using some drops of saline (available over the counter) and a nasal suction device such as a Nose Frida or Naspira

  • Use a humidifier

  • Take a steamy shower with your child

  • If your child is over a year old, you can try propping them up in bed for more comfortable sleep.

Cold and cough medicines for children are not recommended, though for kids over two years of age, guaifenesin (a mucus thinner) is an option. The dose for a 2-year-old is the same as for a 4-year-old so just follow the lowest recommended dosing on the box.

Two teaspoons of honey (for children over 1-year-old) has also been proven to help children with a cough sleep better and it's probably as good, if not better than cough medicine.

When to contact a medical professional

  • Wheezing or noisy breathing
  • Breathing too fast or too slow (see table below for normal ranges)
  • Retractions, or working to get a breath in
  • If you're worried about your child's breathing contact your PCP advice line
Note: If your child is not breathing or is turning blue, start first aid if you know how and call 911!


This illness guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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If you think your child may have a life threatening emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Not sure what's going on with your little one?