A mom blowing her sick son's nose.
Nasal saline can help the symptoms of a common cold in children.

Cold Symptoms in Toddlers

A common cold can occur any time of the year, but the peak is during spring and fall. It is caused by any virus from more than 100 sterotypes. The most frequent among them is known as rhinovirus.

Viral upper respiratory tract infections are the culprit of half of all illnesses. Since common colds are very frequent in kids, studies have been done to assess the association of common colds with daycare attendance.

A study mentioned that a child attending daycare is more likely to get colds than those being taken care of at home. In a comparison of daycare sizes, results show the number of common cold episodes are higher in children attending large daycare centers than small ones.

Cold Symptoms in Toddlers

Symptoms of colds in toddlers can vary. Here is what to look for:

  • Dryness of the nose
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Throat irritation
  • Cough or nasal congestion
  • Irritability
  • Fever

Cold Symptoms in Adults

Adults are not exempted from experiencing the signs and symptoms listed above. However, some can be noticed only in adults such as:

  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Ear pressure
  • Lack of ability to taste and smell
  • Hoarse voice
  • Vomiting after coughing
  • Restlessness

How to Prevent Common Colds

Hand washing may be taken for granted every now and then, but this simple action can be one of the best ways to prevent catching common colds.

You can avoid getting infected by spreadable diseases if you wash your hands before and after preparing the food, eating the food, caring for a sick person, using the toilet, cleaning any object or area, and anytime you think your hands might have some bacteria that may be transmitted to your loved one or other people.

Tips for Treating Children With Colds

When there is nasal congestion, kids might have trouble breathing and you may see them breathing through their mouths. Common colds might interfere with sleeping too. Your kid might be having some discomfort and they could wake up every now and then during the night. You may want to elevate their head during sleep by placing a pillow or folded towel under their head.

Their eating habits may be affected too. Their appetite may be suppressed, but still do encourage them to eat more frequently than eating big meals. If the colds are associated with throat irritation, you may choose foods that are easy to swallow for your kid. It can be a soft food or liquid food, like soup.


Children, including infants, have higher water body content per body weight than an adult. This means water is essential for their growth and development. Insensible water loss is the loss of water from the body through evaporation from the respiratory tract and from skin diffusion. Since toddlers are physically active, their water loss level is moderate to high. This is also another reason to give them fluids often.

When the kids are sick, they are better to be given even more water. Extra fluids help to thin the mucus so the clogging from his or her nose will be relieved.

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Saline Drops

Saline drops are a diluted salt solution that provides relief in colds. It helps to thin mucus and lessen swelling. It is safe and known to be effective as a supplementary treatment for chronic and allergic sinusitis.

Remember that nasal saline can provide moisture in the nasal cavity and it will also help remove encrusted materials inside. This simple remedy has a big effect on the symptoms of the common cold which makes it a good first choice of treatment for your children. Also, there is nothing to worry about for side effects.


Humidifiers moisturize the surrounding air through mist or vapor. This will help make it easier to breathe for those with congestion.

In a study comparing offices with and without humidifiers, results showed that workers in an office where there are humidifiers experienced less dryness of nose, throat, skin and eyes. This is why you may want to install a humidifier in your kid's room for added benefits.

Final Tips

Precaution should be taken when deciding to use over the counter medications for your kid. Most of the formulations have multiple drugs. You must not administer them if not advised by a physician.

According to the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, “Multiple studies pointing to OTC cold medications as the cause of death in infants have been published in the past 5 years.”

Do not give more than one medication to your child, unless prescribed by a doctor. There are documented overdose cases due to the ingestion of multiple medications having similar active ingredients. If you noticed there is no dosing recommendation listed in the packaging, then consult a doctor. If there are multiple caregivers, make a checklist so everyone can see how to properly distribute medicine.