How to Clear a Child's Chest Cold

Your child's stuffy nose and mild cough can travel downwards through the respiratory system and transform into a chest cold in no time. The congestion and breathing difficulties that are often symptoms of a chest cold might be scary, but in most cases are manageable at home. However, home remedies are not substitutes for conventional medical treatment, so make sure to consult with your child's pediatrician if symptoms do not improve or are accompanied by a fever.

Increase the humidity in your home, especially your child's bedroom. The added moisture in the air can help your child cough up the secretions that have settled in his chest. Use a humidifier in the house as much as possible. Create a steam room in the bathroom -- by turning on the hot water in the shower -- and have your child sit in the bathroom for 15 to 20 minutes nightly.

Push liquids. Your child may not feeling like drinking, but offer noncarbonated beverages -- or breast milk or baby formula for an infant -- often. Fluids help thin out mucus, prevent dehydration if your child is also running a fever, and may help clear a chest cold more quickly.

Prop your child up when it's time to sleep. Sleeping at an incline -- using pillows, or sleeping in a recliner or carseat -- helps ease wheezy breathing associated with a chest cold. The upright angle may also make coughing up secretions easier for your child than if she is lying flat.

Give your child an expectorant cough medicine, under the supervision of your pediatrician, to clear chest congestion. The medication helps loosen the mucus in the chest so that your child will be able to expel it more easily.


Take your child to the pediatrician if his chest cold continues without improvement for more than a week, or if he experiences shortness of breath or fever. These could be signs of bronchitis or pneumonia, and require medical treatment.