How to Help Toddlers Breathe Better: 7 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Rule out asthma as a cause of breathing difficulties.

It can be heartbreaking to watch your little one struggling to breathe. His other symptoms may include wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing, stuffy nose and congestion. The most common causes for breathing problems in toddlers include allergies and viral infections, or it could be an indication of a more serious health condition. Although you may feel powerless at times, there are steps you can take to help him breathe easier.


  1. 1
    Take your toddler to a physician to make sure there's no underlying medical condition causing his respiratory difficulty. Severe breathing problems can be life-threatening and should be brought to the attention of a doctor. Breathing problems may be due to something as mild as a common cold or a more serious illness that requires urgent treatment, such as asthma or pneumonia. If your doctor decides that further testing is required, he may send your toddler to an allergist or lung specialist.
  2. 2
    Purchase an over-the-counter vapor rub that contains menthol, eucalyptus or camphor to reduce your little's ones symptoms of congestion and coughing, which will allow him to get a good night's sleep. Massage the vapor rub gently into his chest using circular motions -- as he inhales the vapor, it will help him breathe easier.
  3. 3
    Place a humidifier in your toddler's bedroom to help clear his stuffy nasal passages and break up congestion. A humidifier will also help keep the air moisturized. Aim the mist away from the bed to prevent his sheets from becoming uncomfortably damp. Change the water in the humidifier each day and thoroughly clean the machine once every three days to prevent bacteria, mold and fungi from growing and being released into the air.
  4. 4
    Turn on the hot water in the shower or bath and fill the bathroom with steam. Close the door so none of the steam escapes. Sit with your congested tyke for 20 to 25 minutes to help lessen congestion, recommends Advocates for Children of New Jersey. Read or play a game with him during this time to help lessen any anxiety he may be feeling in the steam-filled bathroom. Never place your little one in the tub of hot water or shower and remain by his side -- don't leave him unattended even for a few seconds.
  5. 5
    Cover the pillows, box spring and mattress of the bed with allergen-proof casings to reduce allergens in your little one's bedroom that could be contributing to his breathing difficulties. Wash his sheets and blankets once per week in water that's 130 degrees, advises the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Only use washable carpeting in his bedroom. Make sure any stuffed animals that he plays with can also be washed. Vacuum your home and toddler's bedroom with a machine that has a HEPA filter. You can also place an air purifier with a HEPA filter in his bedroom.
  6. 6
    Use saline nose drops in the little guy's stuffed-up nose to help kill bacteria, moisturize inflamed nasal passages and loosen mucus. You can purchase over-the-counter saline nose drops at most drugstores. Follow the package instructions for dosages and frequency. Don't use nasal sprays that contain medication unless your physician advises it.
  7. 7
    Avoid using harsh cleaning products in your home. Commercial cleaning products release harmful chemicals and fumes, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs and other chemicals can cause chronic respiratory problems and allergic reactions, according to the American Lung Association. Read labels on cleaning products before purchasing them. Purchase cleaning products from a health food store that don't contain VOCs, chemical irritants or fragrances. You can make your own non-toxic cleaning solution by combining warm water with a mild, natural cleaning soap.


  • Make sure your toddler drinks plenty of fluids.Keep all household pets out of his bedroom.Restrict smoking in all rooms of your house.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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