Family Magazine

12 Home Remedies for Chest Congestion in Babies and Kids

By Sangeetha

Home Remedies for Chest Congestion in Babies and KidsHome Remedies for Chest Congestion in Babies and Kids

Here comes the winter and so follows the common cold, cough, stuffy nose, chest congestion in babies and kids. These illnesses are common in all seasons but cold weather and immatured immune system always trigger breathing difficulties in babies and kids.

In today’s post we will see the causes, symptoms, preventive measures and home remedies for chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids.

Causes of Chest Congestion in Babies and Kids:

I had a recent visit to India for a get-together with my sisters and it was heavily raining all over in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Beyond my extra care and precautions my little one contracted a very bad cold.

Given below are the common causes for chest congestion in babies and kids.

  • Common cold:

During cold, mucus formed in throat and nose drains to the chest. Build up of this mucus leads to chest congestion.

  • Low immunity:

As I mentioned before, the immunity levels of babies and toddlers are pretty much immature to fight disease causing germs.

  • Exposure to cold and cough virus:

When babies come in contact with adults or kids contracted with cold and cough, they receive common cold and cough virus from them leading to chest congestion.

Signs and Symptoms of Chest Congestion in Babies and Kids:

Heavy noisy breathing and difficulty to sleep are the common symptoms of chest congestion in babies and toddlers. Other symptoms of chest congestion in babies and kids are as follows.

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing with phlegm
  • Low or mild fever
  • Crankiness
  • Fussy towards food
  • Difficulty in sleeping

We can’t fully stop a baby from getting cold, cough or chest congestion. But we can follow some preventive measures which are easy to follow during those times.

You can also read the 21 home remedies for cold and cough in babies and kids.

Good hygiene should be maintained when your kid is attacked by viral or bacterial illness. You can read the 5 tricks to keep cold at bay too.

Preventive Measures for Chest Congestion in Babies and Kids:

1. Practice and teach good hygiene, cough etiquette to your kids

  • Cover up coughs while sneezing
  • Try to use paper towels rather than cotton towels while sneezing
  • Discard the used tissue paper in the dust bins
  • If in case of no tissue or hankie try to sneeze with upper sleeve ( into your elbows ) rather than using hands to avoid spreading the microorganism to others
  • Wash hands frequently with sanitizer

2. Include a bit extra ginger, garlic, onions and mint leaves than usual in your meals during winter season. All these are beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Include chicken soups in your kid’s diet. Vegetarians can prepare mixed vegetable soups including carrots and beetroots.

4. Stay hydrated : Fluid intake should be more. Give boiled water in a lukewarm state for drinking and lots of  juices.

5. Adequate rest : Make your kid stay at home to avoid spreading illness to other kids.

During my days as research officer at NIMHANS, whenever I was caught up with common cold, my doctor roommate often used to quote that “a cold lasts seven days without treatment and one week with treatment

Parents, it’s not necessary to go for heavy dose of medication if your child has cold, cough or chest congestion. All these medicines like antihistamines, decongestants, cough syrups will only provide temporary relief and won’t cure the illness.

There are quite a lot of home remedies available just with the ingredients available in our own kitchen. Home remedies are highly beneficial than these over the counter medicines.

A cold lasts seven days without treatment and one week with treatment!

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Home Remedies for Chest Congestion in Babies and Toddlers:


1. Steam the room:

Add a vaporizer to your baby’s room. It helps to add the required moisture to the nasal tract of babies which reduces the breathing difficulty associated with chest congestion.

2. Ajwain and garlic potli:

Make a potli or pouch of dry roasted garlic and ajwain. Frequent rubbing of this potli on baby’s chest or under feet can help to reduce the congestion levels.

 NOTE : Do NOT keep or rub hot potli over baby’s chest or feet.

3. Frequent nursing:

Frequent breastfeeding helps the baby  to get adequate hydration. This helps to prevent the solidification of mucus inside baby’s nose and chest.

4. Raise the head of your baby while sleeping:

Always make it a point to elevate the baby’s head while sleeping and breastfeeding. This helps to drain out the mucus from nose and chest relieving baby from congestion.

Raising head of the baby can be done by using pillows or slings. You can also allow the baby to sleep sideways to ease breathing.


1, 2, 3 and 4 can be followed for babies of 6 month and above too.

In addition to these,

5. Addition of soups and extra fluids:

Make sure the baby is well hydrated with the inclusion of various soups and fluids. Chicken soup is known to soothe the baby during chest congestion.

Chicken soup can be started from 8th month onwards.  You can also read the 7 healthy soups for babies and kids.

Boiled water with carrom seeds or ajwain can also help to soothe the baby. Read whether the water intake of your baby is enough or not.

6. Vicks vapourub:

Rub vicks vaporub for babies on soles of their feet and wear socks during night time


 7. Turmeric milk or haldi doodh:

Turmeric is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Warm milk with turmeric is an effective home remedy for chest congestion in toddlers and kids.

You can boil a cup of milk and add a pinch of turmeric powder/ a piece of turmeric in it. If your toddler is not interested to have it, add jaggery and salt / sugar according to his taste.

8. Garlic milk:

Yes sounds a bit yuck, but garlic milk works wonders for chest congestion in toddlers and kids.

Boil one or two cloves of garlic boiled with one glass of milk and a pinch of turmeric powder.  Add sugar once the milk is boiled.

You can also add honey instead of sugar.

9. Tulsi juice with honey:

Crush a few tulsi leaves to get the juice. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to it and store in a container.

Make your toddler have this juice at regular intervals to drain the phlegm from chest.

Make sure you prepare a fresh batch everyday.

10. Ginger juice with honey:

Grate ginger and add 1 tablespoon of honey to it. Store in a container and make your toddler have this at regular intervals throughout the day.

You can also blend ginger with water and then add honey to it.


All the steps till 10 can be followed for older kids. In addition to these,

11. Dates:

Eating dates followed by drinking luke warm water has also been found beneficial for chest congestion in toddlers.

12. Hot betel plant leaves:

This is a very old but effective home remedy used by my ayyamma (grandma).

Hot betel leaves (Vettilai) soaked in castor oil or mustard oil placed on child’s chest followed with hot compress (cloth soaked in hot water) helps to loosen the phlegm and mucus in chest.

If your baby has severe breathing problems due to congestion and is extremely cranky, you might want to take him to the pediatrician. He might prescribe medicines or antibiotics if  there is bacterial interference over the viral attacks.

Mostly pediatricians suggest for 1-2 doses of nebulisation which helps to clear off the chest from phlegm immediately.

Place your ears over your baby’s chest or back. If you hear a rattling sound along with breathing, it might be the signs of wheezing. Take your baby to a pediatrician immediately.

Well these are some of the home remedies for chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids I know of. Please feel free to share the home remedies which comes handy to treat your little one’s chest congestion.

On an ending note, it’s always fine with kids to be attacked with cold, cough or chest congestion once in a while so that they develop antibodies against those foreign bodies thus building up a strong immune system.


  • This is only about the home remedies for chest congestion in babies and kids caused during common cold.

There are many other causes of chest congestion where medical diagnosis is mandatory. So always check with your pediatrician before trying anything new with your baby or kid.

  • Honey should not be given if your baby is less than one year.

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