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Baby Cold - Symptoms, Manage, Tips and Prevention

Published on Apr 29, 2022   -  6 min read


A common cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat in babies. Read the below article to learn more about the baby cold.



Little noses tend to catch a lot of colds. Though not serious, they can be tough on parents to see the babies suffer and are the biggest reason for pediatric visits. Common colds occur due to viruses or germs that infect the nose and throat. Babies can catch a cold almost eight times in the first year of their lives. When the parent knows how to make the child feel better and when to call a doctor, they can be more confident in handling the baby through the course of a cold.

Why Do Babies Catch Colds?

There are more than 100 types of viruses that can cause common colds. As the baby's immune system that helps fight infections is still developing, they tend to catch a cold more often.

Cold causing viruses spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These viruses can survive on objects and surfaces for several hours. When babies put toys or other objects in their mouth or touch other babies with colds, these viruses enter the body through their nose, mouth, or eyes.

Also, parents or caregivers who attend to the child can pass on the germs to them. Elder brothers and sisters may also carry the infection home from school. More commonly, babies catch a cold in fall or winter, especially in daycares, when the children play indoors and stay close by.

What Are the Symptoms of Common Cold in Babies?

Symptoms of common cold start one to three days after the babies get infected and can last for about seven to ten days. Signs and symptoms which are noticed include:

How Are Common Cold Symptoms Different From Flu Symptoms?

Few serious symptoms are noted in illnesses that are not just due to the common cold. A doctor's visit needs to be planned in case of the following symptoms, that include:

How to Manage Common Colds in Babies?

There is no cure for a baby cold. Most of them subside on their own within 7 to 10 days and do not turn into other serious conditions.

Antibiotics are generally not preferred for common colds, as these are caused by viruses and not bacteria. Some children who may develop bacterial infections causing ear pain or pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) may require treatment with antibiotics, as prescribed by the doctor. Babies should not be given over-the-counter (OTC) cold or cough medicines unless the doctor recommends using them. To reduce fever, the baby may be given Acetaminophen (Children's Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Children's Advil or Motrin). However, medicines containing Aspirin should be avoided as they can cause side effects in young children.

The following steps can be followed to make the baby feel better, they include:

  1. Keeping the baby comfortable.

  2. Keep the baby hydrated. Infants less than six months old can be breastfed or formula-fed. Infants older than six months can also be given water and 100 percent fresh fruit juices based on age.

  3. Give the baby plenty of rest.

What Are the Tips to Ease a Stuffy Nose in Babies?

Babies younger than four years cannot blow their noses. The below tips can help babies get relief from blocked noses.

The baby, if feeling well, can continue with their regular activities of going to the daycare. The caregiver at the daycare must be kept informed about the baby's symptoms. However, in cases of fever or other symptoms, it is better to make the baby stay at home with the parents.

How Can Colds Be Prevented in Babies?

Though cold cannot be completely prevented, following a few simple steps can prevent catching cold frequently.

What Is Baby Summer Cold?

Colds are thought to occur more commonly in winters due to a cool climate. However, that is not the case. Rhinovirus, the virus responsible for causing colds, is more active at lower temperatures. In summers, a virus named non-polio enterovirus causes cold, and the symptoms experienced are similar to those caused by rhinovirus. The symptoms include:

Symptoms usually clear up within a week. The best ways to prevent summer colds also include frequent hand washing and cleaning the baby stuff regularly.

When to Call a Doctor?

Babies older than three months with a common cold do not need a doctor's checkup. However, when the parents notice a few serious symptoms, a consultation at the doctor's office is necessary. The symptoms include:


Baby cold is the common cold that occurs in babies younger than two years of age. The little ones have more encounters with different viruses that cause colds, as they are still in the process of building their immunities. Though cold can be rough on their noses, the good news is frequent bouts of cold can actually help babies build a strong immunity to help fight germs, making them less susceptible to infections gradually. Though it can be hard on parents to manage cranky children, a little bit of patience and following simple tips to ease the sick baby can help a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions


What to Do When a Baby Has a Cold?

If the baby is suffering from a cold it is necessary to keep the nasal passage of the baby clear by suctioning or cleaning regularly. The child should be given lots of fluids to avoid dehydration in the body. If the cold gets severe the doctor should be consulted and nasal drops should be used.


How Long Does a Baby Cold Last?

If the cold has no complications such as fever, weakness, vomiting or anything else, it can resolve within 8 to 12 days. The maximum it may extend is 15 days. It is important to notice the symptoms carefully and if there are other signs, the doctor should be consulted.


What Room Temperature Is Too Cold for a Baby?

Babies are more sensitive to the temperature around them because their body is growing and gradually adapting to the environment. So it is advised to maintain a temperature between 20 to 23 degree celsius around the baby to prevent both heat or cold.


How Can I Prevent My Baby From Getting a Cold?

The precautions essential to prevent a baby from cold include washing hands before touching or feeding the baby, keeping the child away from anyone who is sick, cleaning of the objects and toys used by the baby while playing, avoiding food items which are cold in low temperature weather and avoiding very frequent temperature changes.


How Do I Know the Baby Is Cold at Night?

The best way to check whether the baby is too cold at night is by touching the neck of the baby. If the baby is too cold, lethargic and less responsive, the pediatrician should be consulted immediately.


Can My Baby Suffocate From a Stuffy Nose?

Congestion due to stuffy nose is very common in infants and is not a concern. It should be cleared regularly at home by the mother to avoid severe congestion which may involve lungs. Congestion which involves lungs can be suffocating as the airway passage is very small in babies and can block up easily. If this happens, a doctor should be consulted immediately.


How Do I Know If My Baby’s Cold Is Serious?

If the symptoms of the cold such as a runny nose, nasal congestion or mild fever does not improve and rather get severe, the cold is considered serious and a doctor should be consulted immediately.


How Can I Help My Baby’s Runny Nose Due to a Cold?

There are few remedies to treat a baby's runny nose at home, this involves suction technique with the help of a bulb suction. It helps to clear the nasal passage. Along with this saline drops can also be used to soften the stuffy nose mucus for easy suctioning.


Is Runny Nose a Symptom of COVID Child?

Flu was one of the infections noticed in cases of children affected with COVID, however it can not be considered a firm symptom associated with COVID. COVID infection in children presents versatile symptoms which include cold, flu, or runny nose but also vary from one case to another. Thus it is not right to state that a runny nose is always a symptom present in a COVID-affected child.

Last reviewed at:
29 Apr 2022  -  6 min read




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