Baby Supplements

6 Baby Cold & Flu Relief Options For Your Little One

Updated on 25 July 2022 • 10 minute read

 

Overview

Most young children typically get 8-10 colds before they turn two years of age, and these usually go away without causing big problems or leading to a serious illness. (1)

According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), there isn’t a cure for the common cold because viruses cause it. (1)

Even the most potent antibiotics can’t kill viruses, but the viral infections typically go away on their own after just around a week. (1)

Infections can last longer than 10 days, and kids can get reinfected right after they heal. So, you might think their coughs and colds are taking a long time to heal, but they’re actually having one cold after another. (1)

 

Can I Give My Baby Cold & Flu Medicine?

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t recommend OTC (over-the-counter) medications to treat coughs and colds in babies younger than two years of age due to serious side effects and possibly life-threatening risks. (2)

However, the use of these medications remains prevalent despite the FDA’s warnings. (2)

We don’t want to compromise your children’s health.

To reduce the risks of adverse effects, researchers recommend that parents consult a pediatrician about their child’s cough and runny nose before giving any medication, supplements, or homemade remedies. (2)

Although they don’t recommend antibiotic use, the AAP agrees that parents can help make their children feel better until their cold goes away. (1)

 

6 Baby Cold & Flu Relief Products

Always consult your pediatrician before giving any of the cough medicines and remedies below:

 

What Medicine Can I Give My Baby For A Cold?

  • Zarbee’s Baby Cough Syrup + Immune with Agave (2 fl oz – $6.99) Cough syrup with agave (for cough with hoarseness, dry throat, and irritation) and zinc (to help reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms) (3)
  • Mommy’s Bliss Organic Cough Syrup & Mucus (Day & Night Combo Pack) (Two bottles, 1.67 fl oz each – $15.98) – USDA-certified organic (United States Department of Agriculture) with organic agave, organic ivy leaf (an expectorant), organic elderberry extract (supports immunity), and vitamin C (for a healthier immune system) formulated for daytime and nighttime use
  • Infant’s Advil Concentrated Drops (0.5 fl oz – $7.29)Fever reduction and pain relief medication for common colds, flu, toothaches, headaches, and sore throat

 

Other Cold & Flu Relief Essentials

  • Little Remedies Saline Spray + Drops (0.5 fl oz – $7) – Unique design for upright (spray) or downward (dropper) use for manually clearing crusty, dry, runny, or stuffy noses
  • Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub (1.5 oz – $8.99) – Non-GMO Project verified petroleum-free, all-natural chest rub that’s dermatologically and pediatrically tested
  • FridaBaby Snotsucker Saline Kit (Nasal Aspirator & Saline Nasal Spray) (One set – $19.99) – All-in-one kit for your baby’s stuffy nose with disposable hygiene filters

 

Continue reading to learn more about each baby cold & relief remedy below.

 

Zarbee’s Baby Cough Syrup + Immune with Agave

(source: zarbees.com)

 

Price

  • 2 fl oz – $6.99 (price on Amazon)

 

What Makes It Special?

  • Natural grape flavor
  • Indicated for cough with hoarseness, dry throat, and irritation
  • For ages 6+ months and above
  • Contains agave, a natural remedy used for sore throat, dry cough, and irritation
  • Contains zinc, which can reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms (3)

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients: Zinc gluconate, organic agave syrup, natural flavor, citric acid, water, and potassium sorbate (preservative) 
  • Dosage: Consult your doctor for the right dosage (6-12 months old); 3 ml using an oral syringe (12-24 months old)
  • How It’s Administered: Taken orally as needed, with the dosage depending on your doctor’s advice but not exceeding four times a day
  • Safety Features: Free from drugs, alcohol, dyes, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: Not indicated

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Contains a preservative (potassium sorbate)
  • Some complaints about the product smelling bad

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

 

Mommy’s Bliss Organic Cough Syrup & Mucus (Day & Night Combo Pack)

(source: mommysbliss.com)

 

Price

  • Two bottles, 1.67 fl oz each – $15.98

 

What Makes It Special?

  • Indicated for dry throat, restlessness, and occasional coughing
  • For 4+ months of age
  • Combination for day and night use
  • USDA-certified organic (United States Department of Agriculture)
  • Contains organic agave, organic ivy leaf (an expectorant), and organic elderberry extract (supports immunity)
  • Contains vitamin C (for a healthier immune system)
  • Night time formula has lemon balm, chamomile, and passionflower for relaxation

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients (daytime formulation): Organic agave syrup, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), water, organic ivy leaf, organic elderberry extract, organic slippery elm bark, and organic ginger root
  • Key Ingredients (nighttime formulation): Organic agave syrup, citric acid, water, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), organic ivy leaf, organic chamomile, organic passion flower, organic lemon balm, organic slippery elm bark, and organic ginger root 
  • Dosage: 2 ml recommended dose for 4-12 months old; 5 ml for 1-3 years old
  • How It’s Administered: Taken orally, following your health care provider’s recommended dose every 4-6 hours but not exceeding four times a day
  • Safety Features: Free from alcohol, honey, binders, fillers, added sugars, yeast, artificial flavors or colors, and the top 8 allergens*
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: USDA certification

 

*The top 8 allergens:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Products need to be discarded three months after opening
  • Some complaints about the nighttime medicine’s cap popping after following the manufacturer’s recommendations to shake the bottle

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

  • Gas relief drops
  • Baby multivitamins + iron
  • Organic baby bedtime drops
  • Probiotic drops
  • Probiotic drops + vitamin D
  • Gripe water drops
  • Gripe water gel
  • Vitamin D organic drops
  • Organic gum massage gel
  • Organic baby elderberry drops
  • Saline mist (nasal spray)
  • Baby constipation relief

 

Infant’s Advil Concentrated Drops

(source: advil.com)

 

Price

  • 0.5 fl oz – $7.29 (price in Walgreens)

 

What Makes It Special?

  • White grape flavor
  • For 6-23 months of age
  • Indicated for fever reduction and pain relief for common colds, flu, toothaches, headaches, and sore throat
  • The brand claims that this product fights fever the fastest and lasts the longest

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients: Ibuprofen, acetic acid, butylated hydroxytoluene, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, artificial flavor, citric acid monohydrate, edetate disodium, glycerin, microcrystalline cellulose, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, polysorbate 80, sorbitol solution, sucrose, and xanthan gum
  • Dosage: Every 6-8 hours: 1.25 ml for 6-11 months old; 1.875 ml for 12-23 months old
  • How It’s Administered: Taken orally, according to the recommended dosage, or as directed by your pediatrician
  • Safety Features: Non-staining and free from dyes or alcohol
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: Not indicated

 

Product Recall

Children’s Advil and similar products were recalled in Canada in February 2016 for clumping, which might affect the medication’s dosage if the bottle isn’t adequately shaken before use. (4)

Higher doses can lead to: (4)

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Drowsiness 
  • Decreased breathing rates

 

Lower doses might be inadequate to reduce your child’s fever and, in rare cases, might lead to convulsions. (4)

Affected fever and cold medicines: (4)

  • Advil Pediatric Drops
  • Children’s Advil Cold
  • Children’s Advil Fever from Colds or Flu
  • Children’s Advil
  • Advil Pediatric Drops Fever from Colds or Flu

 

This recall is no longer in effect.

 

Cons

  • Contains NSAIDs, which are popularly used for reducing inflammation and pain relief but may cause severe stomach bleeding and heart problems (5)
  • Contains added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives
  • It had a recall in Canada.
  • Some complaints about the applicator becoming messy

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

  • Children’s Advil Suspension (2-11 years old)
  • Junior Strength Advil Chewables (2-11 years old

 

Little Remedies Saline Spray + Drops

(source: littleremedies.com)

 

Price

  • 0.5 fl oz – $7

 

What Makes It Special?

  • Nose drops or spray to help with nasal congestion manually
  • Unique design for upright (spray) or downward (dropper) use
  • For use with crusty, dry, runny, or stuffy noses
  • Flushes mucus from your baby’s nose
  • Drug-free and no side effects
  • The brand claims that this product is safe for newborns. But always ask your pediatrician before using it on your baby.

 

NOTE: For newborns or small babies, this product is best used with a suction bulb or nasal aspirator to move the mucus to the front and out of their small noses.

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients: Water, sodium chloride (salt), glycerin, sodium benzoate, and benzoic acid
  • Dosage: 2-6 drops
  • How It’s Administered: Put 2-6 drops in each nostril as directed by your doctor or as needed
  • Safety Features: Drug-free
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: Not indicated

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Some complaints about the product making their nose sting

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

  • Honey cough syrup
  • Sore throat pops
  • Gas relief drops
  • Gripe water
  • Infant fever + pain relief
  • Decongestant nose drops (with Phenylephrine HCl)
  • New baby essentials kit

 

Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub

(source: matyshealthyproducts.com)

 

Price

  • 1.5 oz – $8.99

 

What Makes It Special?

  • For 3+ months of age
  • Non-GMO Project verified
  • Petroleum-free, fragrance-free, all-natural chest rub
  • Contains soothing lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus for a good night’s sleep
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Pediatrically tested
  • For relieving congestion and calming restlessness
  • No animal testing

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients: Chamomile essential oil, dill weed essential oil, lavender essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, sunflower wax, castor oil, vitamin E, patchouli essential oil, and coriander seed
  • Dosage: As needed
  • How It’s Administered: Gently rub into your baby’s chest, neck, and feet
  • Safety Features: Free from fragrance, hydrogenated oils, and petroleum
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: Non-GMO Project verified

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Some complaints about the product being too greasy or oily and having a strange scent similar to mildew

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

  • All-natural baby cough syrup (day and night combo pack)
  • All-natural baby eczema relief ointment
  • All-natural baby diaper rash ointment
  • Organic baby teething oil

 

FridaBaby Snotsucker Saline Kit (Nasal Aspirator & Saline Nasal Spray)

(source: frida.com)

 

Price

  • One set – $19.99

 

What Makes It Special?

  • All-in-one kit for your baby’s stuffy nose
  • Nasal aspirator with disposable hygiene filters (replace after every use)
  • Comfortable suction
  • Most parts are top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning (blue nasal tube, red mouthpiece, and filter cap)

 

Key Features 

  • Key Ingredients: Natural sea salt and purified water
  • How It’s Administered/Used: Spray the natural saline solution in your baby’s nose. Put the filters in place, set the large tube against your baby’s nostril to create a seal, and suck on the red mouthpiece. Dispose of the filter after use and clean the large tube with warm or hot water and the thin tube with rubbing alcohol.
  • Safety Features: Free from alcohol, medicine, and other additives
  • Third-party Testing & Certification: Not indicated

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Some complaints about the product parts falling apart and becoming unusable after a few uses

 

Brand’s Other Products For Kids

  • Saline snot spray
  • Vapor bath bombs
  • Electric Nose Frida
  • Fever cool pads
  • Vapor drops
  • Gassy belly rub
  • Gas + colic heating pad
  • 3-in-1 humidifier, diffuser, and nightlight
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Mobile medicine cabinet

 

Summary & Recommendations

Oral Remedies

Choose Zarbee’s Baby Cough Syrup + Immune with Agave (2 fl oz – $6.99) if:

  • You’re looking for a cough syrup with agave (for cough with hoarseness, dry throat, and irritation)
  • You prefer an oral remedy that contains zinc to help reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms
  • You don’t mind that it contains a preservative (potassium sorbate)
  • Your baby is 6+ months old (but always check with your pediatrician before giving any medication to your little one)

 

Choose Mommy’s Bliss Organic Cough Syrup & Mucus (Day & Night Combo Pack) (two bottles, 1.67 fl oz each – $15.98) if:

  • You prefer USDA-certified organic products
  • You’re looking for cough syrup with organic agave, organic ivy leaf (an expectorant), organic elderberry extract (supports immunity), and vitamin C (for a healthier immune system)
  • You like having a combo formula for daytime and nighttime use
  • You prefer a product free from added sugars, alcohol, artificial flavors, and the top 8 allergens
  • You don’t mind that the product needs to be discarded three months after opening
  • Your baby is 4+ months old (but consult your pediatrician first)

 

Choose Infant’s Advil Concentrated Drops (0.5 fl oz – $7.29) if:

  • You need a fever reduction and pain relief medication for common colds, flu, toothaches, headaches, and sore throat
  • You prefer a product marketed for use by babies and older children (6-23 months of age)
  • You don’t mind that it isn’t organic
  • You don’t mind that it contains added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors, and NSAIDs (which might cause severe stomach bleeding and heart problems) (5)
  • You don’t mind that it had a recall in 2016 in Canada.

 

Other Cold & Flu Relief Essentials

Choose Little Remedies Saline Spray + Drops (0.5 fl oz – $7) if:

  • You’re looking for a cold relief product that can be used both as a spray (upright) or a dropper (downward)
  • You need something to manually clear crusty, dry, runny, or stuffy noses
  • You prefer a product marketed to be safe for use by newborns (but make sure to check with your healthcare provider)

 

Choose Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub (1.5 oz – $8.99) if:

  • You want to use an all-natural, petroleum-free chest rub
  • You prefer a Non-GMO Project verified product
  • You like one that’s dermatologically and pediatrically tested

 

Choose FridaBaby Snotsucker Saline Kit (Nasal Aspirator & Saline Nasal Spray) (One set – $19.99) if:

  • You need an all-in-one kit for your baby’s stuffy nose
  • You prefer a product with disposable hygiene filters to reduce the risks of reinfection

 

Diagnosis: Understanding Cold & Flu Symptoms

The common cold and flu exhibit similar symptoms, are caused by viruses, and typically last around the same time (7-14 days).

Both can cause a sore throat, runny nose, or fever. The following are some of the differences in their symptoms: (6)

 

Cold Symptoms

  • Scratchy sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Sniffling
  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Post-nasal drip (mucus draining from the nose into the mouth)

 

Flu Symptoms

 

Home Remedies: How Can I Help My Baby Sick With A Cold?

Reduce Fever (Acetaminophen Or Ibuprofen)

Fever pads, cold packs, or medications with acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce your child’s high body temperature.

However, avoid products with aspirin because these can increase the risks of Reye Syndrome, which might lead to liver failure and brain damage. (7)

 

Cough & Cold Medications

Consult your pediatrician and check the label for the product’s health information.

 

Increase Fluids

Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids (breast milk, formula, freshly prepared juices, and water).

 

Saline Drops & Nasal Spray

These can help clear your baby’s nose and sinuses.

 

Easy-to-Swallow Food

If they’re already eating solid foods, encourage your child to eat. You can opt for easy-to-swallow foods such as soup or even purées.

 

Humidifiers & Vaporizers

These products release moisture into the air:

  • Cool-mist humidifiers use a motor to convert water into a fine mist
  • Vaporizers make moisture by converting water to steam using a heating element 

 

Mentholated Rubs

These can soothe a cough and help your baby sleep better.

 

Ways to Help Prevent Colds & Flu

Lifestyle Changes

  • Avoid or reduce contact with sick people (or ask them not to visit your home)
  • Proper hand washing
  • Cover your mouth and nose every time you sneeze or cough

 

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is approved for babies over six months old but ask your pediatrician first.

 

When To See A Doctor

  • Persistent high fever – Any fever above 100.4 F for babies younger than three months or over 102 F for older children
  • Signs of dehydration – Such as a decreased number of wet diapers
  • Refusing to eat or feed
  • Fast, labored breathing
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Your baby’s lips are turning blue
  • Coughing so badly that they end up vomiting or choking
  • Persistent crying
  • Your child seems extremely sleepy

 

FAQs

How Long Does Cold & Flu Last In Babies?

Both typically last for 7-14 days, although reinfection can also happen and extend the duration of your baby’s illness, especially during flu season.

 

What’s The Best Sleeping Position For A Baby With A Cold?

Although carrying your baby upright is the best position so they can breathe better, putting them on their back remains the safest option.

Never put them in inclined sleepers even if these products elevate their head because they’re also known to be dangerous and might lead to suffocation or death.

 

Can A Baby Suffocate From A Stuffy Nose?

Like adults, babies can safely breathe through their mouth if they have a congested or stuffy nose. (8)

 

Can I Still Breastfeed My Baby If I Have Flu Symptoms

If possible, it’s best to pump your breast milk and have someone else feed your baby to avoid close contact.

 

Is Children’s Advil The Same As Tylenol?

No. Advil uses ibuprofen (targets the pain source) as its active ingredient, while Tylenol uses acetaminophen (blocks off pain signals).

 

 

 

References

(1) https://publications.aap.org/patiented/article-abstract/doi/10.1542/ppe_document241/552/Colds-What-You-Need-to-Know?redirectedFrom=fulltext

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461939/

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394849/

(4) https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2016/57140a-eng.php?rssa

(5) https://www.hss.edu/conditions_guidelines-reduce-side-effects-nsaids.asp

(6) https://www.choc.org/features/how-to-tell-if-cold-or-flu/

(7) https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=reye-syndrome-90-P02620

(8) https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/article?contentid=778&language=english

 

 

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