How to Stop Coughing in a Child

Relieving a child's cough can help her sleep at night.
Relieving a child's cough can help her sleep at night. (Image: cough syrup image by Cindy Haggerty from

Several things can trigger a child's chronic or persistent cough, including allergies, the common cold or bronchitis. Coughing may worsen at night, and if left untreated, coughing can trigger other problems, such as chest pains and sore throat. There are numerous ways to calm a cough. The key to helping your child involves identifying the source of the cough, then taking measures to remove anything that might trigger or worsen coughing.

Things You'll Need

  • Cough medicine
  • Humidifier
  • Juice or water

Administer over-the-counter medicines as instructed by your child's doctor. Cough medicines and cold medicines with a cough suppressant are available for children ages 6 and up. But speak with a doctor before giving them to your child.

Turn on the shower to help stop a child's cough. Steam from a hot shower can open your child's airways and halt a chronic cough. Place the child in the steamy bathroom with the door closed for 20 minutes. Do not leave young children unattended.

Run a humidifier. Often, a cool mist humidifier will help a child stop coughing.

Soothe a cough with juice or water. Give your child a cup of juice or water to help calm her airways, clear her throat and relieve her coughing.

Keep your child away from smoke. Cigarette smoke can induce or worsen coughing in a child. Ask friends or relatives who smoke to light up outside your home. Do not visit restaurants that permit smoking inside.

Reduce the amount of dust in your home. Allergens can cause coughing in children with asthma or allergies. Change air filters in your home every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer. Dust surfaces, vacuum regularly and wash bedding once a week.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cough drops are useful in soothing coughs in older children.
  • Call a doctor if a cough worsens or last longer than three weeks, and if wheezing or breathing difficulties occur.

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