How Do You Decongest A Toddler – Quick Relief Tips

To decongest your toddler, you’ll want to clear out the mucus in their nose using products like a nose Frida to suck out the mucus. Then you’ll want to give them extra water throughout this process, and then use a humidifier when they sleep. The additional water intake and water moisture around them will help them decongest. You can keep the humidifier on while they play in the room.

Is your little toddler having trouble breathing? We’ve all been there with natural remedies, kids’ humidifiers, and other remedies to help your little one with a stuffy nose.

If your little one is having a tough time, a quick tip is to turn on the shower with hot water and let it run for a few minutes.

Keep the door closed, and then bring your toddler into the bathroom once the bathroom is a bit steamy. This sauna-like environment will act as a quick hit of moisture to their nose.

Baby Nasal Aspirator NoseFrida the Snotsucker by Frida Baby

Check price on Amazon

Some tips for nasal decongestion

Consider a good humidifier for toddler decongestion

Here are some things you can do to help your toddler get nasal relief while they’re decongested

  • Clear out the mucus in their nose (we used nose Frida, a bulb syringe). When your toddler is too young to blow their nose or can’t do it properly, you’ll want something to help you get the excess mucus out of their nose. A neti pot is great for adults, but a bulb syringe is ideal and convenient for toddlers.
  • Use a humidifier as much as you can to keep them in a cool mist of water moisture. Having your kiddo in a moist room will allow their nasal passage to be less congested, and it will also feel good to them.
  • Have your toddler drink plenty of water while they’re decongested. The high water intake helps thin out the mucus to fight it from all angles and decrease cold symptoms.
  • Saline sprays, basically saltwater, are a great quick option to try additional methods to ease your little one while decongested. These nasal aspirators are available at all your nearby grocery or drugstores like Walgreens and CVS.
  • Consider using an essential oil diffuser to help naturally decongest your little one. The big benefit of essential oil is that it’s an all-natural remedy to help give your little one nasal relief. Combinations of tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, and oregano are great to help decongestion. Some adults put concentrated essential oil directly on their skin. I wouldn’t recommend this for toddlers though, stick to using it in a diffuser.
  • Avoid giving your toddler dairy, chocolate, and processed foods that can cause more mucus production. As an adult, there are some great foods to eat to help your decongestion, like soup, pineapples, lemon, and ginger, to name a few. You might want to stick to soup for your toddler and give them something crunchy, like a piece of toast to help their sinus congestion.

Zarbee's Naturals Soothing Saline Nasal Mist with Aloe, 3 Ounce Canister

Check price on Amazon

When should I take my toddler to the pediatrician?

A decongested nose is quite common as your little one’s immune system is still building strength. You may have tried some natural remedies like a humidifier and saline nasal sprays, as well as clearing out the mucus yourself to help them breathe better.

If nothing is working, and it’s been almost a week, it might be time to call your pediatrician to have them diagnose your child. You can get some heavier medication prescribed for your toddler, like decongestion sprays, nose drops, or oral antihistamines.

Your toddler’s pediatrician will check out your little one’s health and know which medication and what amount is right for him or her.

At this young age, it’s ideal not to medicate if it’s not necessary. The side effects can outweigh the benefits, so your pediatrician will most likely talk to you about all methods you’ve tried before going down the route of stronger medication alternatives.

Is Vicks safe for toddlers?

Vicks Vaporub is something I used and still use to this day to help relieve my own nasal passageway when I’m feeling sick and have a stuffy nose.

Vicks is safe for any child over the age of 2 and is not safe for infants. If your little one is at or over the age of 2, a great way to soothe their decongestion is to put some Vicks Vaporub on both of their feet before bedtime.

1.76oz (50g) Vicks Vaporub Relief From Headache, Cough, Cold, Flu, Blocked Nose

Check price on Amazon

There’s even a medical paper by several pediatricians sharing the great benefits of Vicks for toddlers. We used it for our toddler when she had nasal congestion and would put socks on her feet after rubbing it on so that it would stay on longer overnight.

The medical paper did a trial on 138 kids ranging from 2 to 11 and shared that by day 2 the kids had a great improvement in their symptoms. 

Aside from the test, I used Vicks a lot throughout my life and have used it on my own kiddo. It’s a staple item that is always in our household, and I recommend you try it out if you haven’t to help your little one decongest.


Sickness happens, and decongestion is no good. I’d feel terrible when my toddler had a blocked nose (on top of possible symptoms like high fever), and wanted to do the best for her. She goes to daycare, so it’s common for her to get sick every other month.

I hope my personal recommendations of using a suction bulb, humidifier, and some Vicks on their feet help your little one start feeling better.

If he or she isn’t improving after 4-5 days, it might be time to call your pediatrician or visit the emergency room if they start getting a high fever.

Was this article helpful?

We're a group of writers, mostly parents, some medically certified, who publish helpful articles for all stages of your child from newborn, infant, toddler, to a big kiddo.

Leave a Comment