14 Tips, Products, and Home Remedies for Kids’ Nasal Congestion

You don’t want to see your child uncomfortable and struggling to sleep, eat, or play because of a stuffy nose. But nasal congestion is a part of life, and kids get stuffy noses often.

What you can do is to make your child as comfortable as possible through the ordeal. A calm parent makes for a calm child. Focus on encouraging your child to get extra rest, and drink plenty of water. Help get the mucus out of their nose, with a drug-free saline solution like Sinex Children’s Saline.

Keep reading for 14 tips, products, and home remedies for nasal congestion in kids. But before we give you some solutions, let’s find out what causes stuffy noses in kids.

What causes a stuffy nose in kids?

You may think that nasal congestion is caused by too much mucus in the nose. But it’s not just due to that. In the case of a cold, a stuffy nose can also be caused by the dilation of large veins in the nasal sinuses due to inflammation.1

Plenty of things can lead to nasal congestion in kids. The most common include:

Viral infection.

More than 200 types of viruses can cause upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), which can lead to nasal congestion.1 However, rhinoviruses—the common cold—are the most common cause. They are responsible for 30%-50% of all colds.1 Influenza viruses, or the flu, cause 5%-15%.1

When a virus gets into your child’s nasal sinuses, the virus can cause the body’s immune system to react, dilating the veins in the nose and causing inflammation.

Allergies and Irritants.

Allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and fungi, can also cause your child’s immune system to release chemicals. These chemicals cause many symptoms, including inflammation of the nasal sinuses. Your child may have nasal congestion during certain times of the year when outdoor molds release their spores, and specific plants release pollen into the air. In that case, your child may be dealing with seasonal allergies, which are sometimes called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis.2

What makes children’s congestion worse at night?

You may be wondering why your child’s nasal congestion gets worse at night. When your child lays flat at night, the mucus may not always drain properly. And when mucus accumulates, nasal congestion can sound worse.

One easy method of relieving nasal congestion at night is to elevate your child’s head with a few pillows. Sleeping at an angle will help your child’s mucus drain better. Then you can check in to see them soundly sleeping, dreaming the night away.

14 Tips, Products, and Home Remedies for Helping Kids’ Nasal Congestion and Keeping Your Little One Comfortable at Home

Nasal congestion is not fun for anyone, much less for kids. As a parent, you may panic because nasal congestion may seem like your child can’t breathe with a blocked-up nose. Even more likely, you’re looking for a safe solution to helping your child breathe easier while the symptom clears up.

Look no further. Here at Vicks, we’re always looking for ways to provide care and comfort to our little loved ones when they’re not feeling their best. Keep reading for 14 tips, products and home remedies to keep your child comfortable at home while dealing with stuffy nose symptoms.

Tips for Clearing Stuffy Nose from a Cold or Allergies

1. Rinse out your child’s nose with Sinex Children’s Saline

A saline solution helps clear the mucus in your child’s nose and soothe dry nasal passages. Sinex Children’s Saline Ultra Fine Nasal Mist instantly clears everyday congestion. It can also clear your stuffy nose associated with colds or even year-round allergies. This drug-free isotonic saline solution moisturizes and soothes your little one’s dry, irritated nasal passages. The nozzle is easy to control with a one-way flow so you don’t need to worry about making a mess. Try Sinex Children’s Saline today if your little one’s stuffy nose is bothering them.

2. Take Vicks Children’s for multi-symptom relief

If your little one’s stuffy nose is from a cold, they’re probably dealing with more than just nasal congestion. Multi-symptom relief medicine can tackle more than just your kids’ stuffy nose. Vicks Children’s Cough and Congestion can help with cough, stuffy nose, and more. Plus, it’s free of artificial dyes and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and alcohol. The daytime medicine relieves cough, chest congestion, and stuffy nose, and is for children age 4 and older. The nighttime medicine, for children age 6 and older, can relieve cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, and sneezing.

Tips for Helping Stuffy Nose from Irritants

3. Consider Vicks Children’s Botanicals Multi-Care

No parent wants to hear their child dealing with a pesky, everyday cough. Vicks Children Botanicals Multi-Care] soothes cough and nasal irritation associated with hoarseness, dry throat, and irritants*. It also helps to clear mucus with naturally effective ingredients like ivy leaf*. You should only use Vicks Children’s Botanicals Multi-Care in children who are 1+.

4. …Or Multi-Care Night

Everyday cough and boogers can make it harder for your little one to wind down into their bedtime routine. Vicks Children’s Botanicals Multicare Night has elderberry to relieve cough and runny nose associated with hoarseness, dry throat, & irritants.*

Tips to Keep Your Kid Comfortable While Dealing With Nasal Congestion

5. Keep your child hydrated

Your child may find it difficult to blow the thick mucus from their stuffy nose out, and frequent blowing can dry out their nasal passages. One way to keep nasal tissues moist is to keep your child hydrated. Give lots of water and encourage drinking by handing over a water bottle. Or treat them with 100% fruit popsicles either made at home or from your grocery store. Your child may even find them more appealing than water. Keep away from drinks containing caffeine, like soda, because they may worsen dehydration.

6. Add a humidifier to your child’s room

A cool-mist humidifier works by spraying mist into the surrounding area to make the air moist. A humidifier helps to prevent nostril dryness and thins out the mucus in the nose. Place it close to your child but not within reach. Also, be sure to regularly clean the humidifier daily to prevent bacteria or mold from growing in it.3

7. Breathe in soothing Vicks Vapors with Vicks Non-Medicated Children’s VapoPatch

Give your child a calm, soothing environment to keep them comfortable. One way to do this is to use Vicks Non-Medicated Children’s VapoPatch. It provides soothing Vicks vapors in an easy-to-use aromatherapy patch. All you need to do is to peel, apply on their shirt, and let your child breathe in vapors that can soothe your child’s senses.

8. Let warm chicken soup work its wonders

Nothing says ‘sick day’ more than a chicken soup. Serve two generous bowls of chicken soup—one for you, and one for your stuffed-up kid.

9. Use a nasal aspirator to remove mucus

For infants, aspirators or bulb syringes can help remove mucus and provide comfort, especially because infants don’t yet know how to blow their noses. Bulb syringes are pretty straightforward to use. You squeeze out the air from the bulb syringe to make a vacuum, keep it squeezed while inserting it into your child’s nose and release it to suction out the mucus. Your baby will sleep better and more comfortably as a result.

10. Use a nose ointment for dryness

Your kid may be blowing their nose constantly, trying to relieve their stuffy nose. This can make the skin around their nostrils dry and irritated. If your child is older than 6, Sinex Nasal Balm can heal and soothe the dry skin around their nose through intense moisturization. Rub a little amount on the dry skin around your child’s nose.

11. Check the pantry for honey if your child starts coughing

Lots of mucus from a stuffy nose can add coughing to your kid’s symptoms, too. Parents looking for a natural option can check the pantry for honey.4 It’s important to note, though, that this is not appropriate for children under a year old. The CDC recommends that you do not give honey to a child younger than 12 months.5

12 Give them a long, warm bath

Get the bathroom steamy and get your child in the bath. Steam can help hydrate your child’s nasal passages. It travels into the nose and thins out the mucus. Having a warm bath at night will also signal to child’s body to wind down for bedtime.

13. Make sure they eat a balanced diet

Lots of kids prefer to pass on the veggies at dinnertime. But it’s important to give your child a balanced diet—with all nutrients they need to support their little body's growth and development. Blend or puree veggies into your kids’ favorite dishes, so that even when they’re fussing with a stuffy nose, they’re still eating a balanced diet.

14. Extra snuggles

Kids love cuddles! Sometimes the best home remedy is a good cuddle. Kids just want to feel loved and comforted when they’re feeling sick. Cuddling will calm your child, and if they’re calmer, they can rest and feel better or breathe easier. Those extra cuddles are so worth it!

What to look for in children’s congestion medicine

Every child is unique. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. Before you choose any congestion medicine, make sure you talk to your child’s primary care pediatrician.

Your pediatrician may recommend stuffy nose treatment based on your child’s specific medical history, including allergies or sensitivities. Look for active ingredients that meet your child's needs. If your child has allergies, don’t give cold/flu medicines, and vice versa.

To find the active ingredients, look at the label of the congestion medicine. Under where it says, “Drug Facts,” you can find the active ingredients. Make sure the medicine does not have the same active ingredient as another medicine your child is currently taking. Also, check the dosage to know how much to give your child and whether it is safe for your child’s age. Many OTC children’s medicines have different age and weight requirements based on the ingredients. Check with your pediatrician first before giving the medicine to your child.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.