We’ve all had coughs that keep us awake at night, however when toddlers cough at night, diagnosing the issue can be difficult. Learn more about the causes of nighttime cough and the ways to treat it.
Causes of Nighttime Cough in Toddlers
Nighttime coughing is not considered normal in toddlers and is typically worse at night due to the fact that of Baby’s sleeping position as he lies facedown. Nighttime cough can be indicative of a number of health conditions.
“When a cough is mainly at night, it may likewise be set off by mucus running across the gag reflex,” says Hai Cao, M.D., a pediatrician in Brooklyn. If your baby is ill, the act of coughing itself works to clear the throat and upper passages from mucus and congestion. Another cause might be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach contents leak backwards into the esophagus.
But “the most important trait to establish about a cough is whether it’s related to the lungs,” says Dr. Cao. If the cough is from the lungs, the visual signs of breathing difficulty will appear. “The abdomen will enter and out, and the muscles in between the ribs will contract with each breath,” Dr. Cao states. “The throat will likewise enter and out with each breath, and the nostrils flare like a horse’s.”.
If those visual signs are absent, the cough is most likely from postnasal drip and can be addressed by keeping the upper airways clear.
How to Treat Nighttime Cough in Toddlers
For Coughs Related to Colds
If your toddler’s cough is due to a cold and it’s bad enough to keep him awake for much of the night, there are methods to make him more comfy. Clear your baby’s air passages with over the counter saline drops or a saline spray, recommends Dr. Cao, or use a suction, supplied by a doctor, to assist drain pipes the nasal passages. Make certain to keep a humidifier in your baby’s room, which permits smoother and less annoying air flow, according to Dr. Cao.
Children under 12 months can be provided a teaspoon of corn syrup to assist with a cough that is caused by a cold, suggests David L. Hill, M.D., a pediatrician and author of Dad To Dad: Parenting Like A Pro. Other cold remedies or medications are not advised.
“Cold medications, like cough suppressants and decongestants, have never been shown to actually work and can be dangerous for children under the age of 2,” Dr. Hill stated.
After the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested that non-prescription cough and cold products be prevented for children under the age of 2, producers complied and went further, willingly restricting their labeling to children 4 and under, as there is a high risk for overdose, specifically in children under 2.
If your baby is old enough to have pillows in bed, add an additional one for nights when her cough is specifically bad. Keeping your child’s head elevated can aid with nasal drainage.
For Coughs Related to GERD
If your child’s cough is since of GERD, thickening solutions or antacid medications may be useful, Dr. Hill states. Thickening formula permits parents to give their baby less formula with the same amount of calories; a prescribed antacid can be used even in premature children with GERD.
However no matter what the cause is, if any nighttime cough lasts more than a few weeks and/or is accompanied by fever, shortness of breath, or fast breathing, call your pediatrician right now.
For Coughs Related to the Lungs
If you presume your baby’s cough is originating from his lungs, this is a serious condition. Contact your pediatrician today for the best treatment.