Night coughing among toddlers

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The last thing that parents want for a toddler is experience difficulty sleeping especially with night coughing. When it comes to night coughing, it will not only make the toddler miserable but will also keep the parents awake during the night.

Night coughing among toddlers might be an indication of certain conditions such as asthma, croup, sinusitis or bronchitis. Most of these causes of night coughing can be managed at home, but it is still best to consult a doctor to ensure that there is no underlying cause that might require attention if the coughing persists for more than a couple of days.


In case a child has asthma, the airways are constricted and swollen, leading to excess mucus and difficulty in breathing. Take note that the symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe.

Some children experience symptoms mainly at night or during exercise while others have symptoms all the time.

Some children experience symptoms mainly at night or during exercise while others have symptoms all the time. The typical signs include wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Asthma might be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The triggers vary for each child. As for the treatment, it usually involves learning to recognize the triggers along with daily asthma medications if the symptoms are severe.


Croup is an intense and repetitive cough that is similar to the noise produced by a barking seal and often occurs at night. This night coughing is due to the inflammation of the vocal cords and windpipe and typically seen among children below 5 years old since they have small airways.

Other symptoms include high-pitched breathing sounds, difficulty swallowing, fever 103.5 or higher and irritability. This cough is not considered serious and can be managed at home using a humidifier at night and ensuring intake of fluids. In some cases, the doctor will prescribe medications to manage the condition.


Sinusitis can cause the cavities around the nasal passages to swell and become inflamed. This leads to the accumulation of mucus that disrupts with normal drainage. Sinusitis can also be triggered by an infection but might also be due to nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum.

The symptoms of sinusitis include coughing that can be worse at night, congestion, drainage and tenderness around the eyes. The condition normally heals without medical care but if the symptoms last more than 5 days, a doctor should be consulted.


Bronchitis involves inflammation of the lining of the child’s bronchial tubes. This typically develops from a common cold or a respiratory infection. The symptoms include coughing, fatigue, chest discomfort and production of white, clear, yellow or green mucus. An acute case of bronchitis typically improves within a few days but the cough can last for weeks. The doctor might recommend a cough suppressant to help the toddler rest.

Considerations to bear in mind

It is vital to consult with a doctor if the symptoms, particularly night coughing that lasts for more than a few days. Most cases of night coughing are not life-threatening, but it is vital for the doctor to assess to ensure that there is no underlying medical condition that requires treatment.

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