A 2-year-old child coughs at night but not during the day

Children under one year of age often experience increased activity of the salivary glands. This can be caused by various reasons: from teething to acute respiratory disease. The main thing is to correctly determine the cause of this condition. In most cases, this problem does not require treatment and goes away on its own.

Baby drooling is a common occurrence.

Causes of increased salivation at night

If a child chokes on saliva in his sleep, he should be moved from a position lying on his back to his side or stomach, then the mucus will not flow into the lungs, causing a cough. The problem is worse at night because:

  • The baby lies on his back;
  • The child does not move for a long time;
  • Mucus drains into the lungs along the back of the throat;
  • At night, the activity of the salivary glands increases.

This condition should not be considered a pathology; it is normal in children under one year of age.

The most common reason for the active formation of saliva is teething. Also, the volume of mucus secreted increases sharply when a child suffers from acute respiratory infections and acute respiratory viral infections. When the period of recovery begins, this condition passes. The baby begins to choke on saliva because mucus from the mouth constantly gets into the throat, and the baby does not have time to spit it out.

The most likely cause of the problem is active teething

Emergency help for choking on saliva

Parents often wonder whether a baby can choke on saliva and why this happens. This is really possible if the baby sleeps in a supine position. Also, a sleeping baby may choke when burping. To prevent this from happening, after feeding you should keep the baby in an upright position for about 15 minutes and only then put it in the crib.

Emergency help may be needed if:

  • The mucus is thick and viscous, and the child cannot spit it out on his own;
  • The baby's nose is very clogged due to a runny nose;
  • Salivation is caused by ingestion or inhalation of a foreign body;
  • The child suddenly found it difficult to breathe.

In these cases, parents must act correctly so as not to harm the baby.

If a baby chokes

If parents see that the child is choking on saliva, they need to give the baby an upright position as soon as possible. A baby after six months who can sit can be placed on pillows to sleep in this position; Children up to two to three months are placed on their stomach. If the baby cannot breathe, you need to take him by the legs, turn him head down and hold him in this position until he spits out mucus or a foreign body. This must be done quickly.

What not to do

When a child is choking and cannot clear his throat, parents should not be nervous, because anxiety always interferes with the correct action. Also, you should not slap the baby sharply on the back - this can push the mucus even further into the respiratory tract. If the baby screams loudly, you should not interfere with this - with a scream, he can get rid of the abundance of saliva on his own. If there is increased salivation, the baby cannot be limited in liquid; on the contrary, he should drink as much as possible. Acidic drinks (for example, cranberry juice) should be avoided - they provoke excessive saliva production.

How to treat night cough

Once an accurate diagnosis has been established, therapy can begin. As mentioned above, the doctor should choose methods of combating night coughs, so we will provide several general recommendations. The first thing to do is to provide comfortable conditions for the child. The room should be ventilated regularly, and wet cleaning should be carried out 2 times a day. In addition, the air in the room where the patient is located can also be additionally humidified.

The child should be given as much liquid as possible - tea, rosehip infusions, fruit drinks. One point is especially worth noting - all drinks must be warm. If the root cause of the night cough is an allergy, the child will be prescribed antihistamines. However, with their help alone you cannot get rid of the problem. First of all, the allergen should be identified and removed somewhere away. Otherwise, the treatment will simply be ineffective.

They help a lot with night coughs and inhalations. However, this treatment option is not used for children younger than 6 months. In addition, be sure to consult your doctor first, even if you want to use any of the traditional medicines. In addition, you should not give your child cough suppressants or antibiotics on your own. All medications can be given only as prescribed by a doctor. In this case, you cannot change either the drug itself or its dosage on your own. Self-medication is allowed only in the most extreme cases, when it is not possible to quickly consult with a specialist for one reason or another.

In such a case, remember one simple rule. If you have a dry cough, you should not give your child expectorants; if you have a wet cough, you should not give them antitussives. This is a very important point, since improper therapy can lead to very serious consequences. Antihistamines should also not be given to a child without consulting a doctor.

When you need a doctor's help

If a child chokes on saliva in his sleep due to a runny nose, the snot flows down his throat and interferes with sleep. In this case, you should contact your pediatrician to prescribe antiviral drugs and vasoconstrictor nasal drops. You also need medical help if:

  • The child has a red and swollen throat (this may be a sign of infection);
  • Small ulcers are visible in the mouth, longitudinal grooves are visible on the tongue (a characteristic sign of stomatitis);
  • In addition to salivation, severe cough and high fever are observed;
  • Children's teeth erupt in the wrong order.

Typically, an infant begins a period of active drooling after six months, when the first milk teeth erupt. However, in some cases this time begins much earlier - at three to four months. In this case, it is necessary to bring your baby to the doctor, since premature appearance of teeth may indicate rickets and other diseases.

To alleviate the condition, you can give your baby a special children's toy - a teether. When a newborn girl or boy chews or sucks such a rattle, the child gets rid of excess drool and pain in the gums, and therefore begins to feel better.

When the toddler turns one year old, the activity of the baby's salivary glands gradually slows down, but periodically resumes during the appearance of new pairs of milk teeth. At this time (up to 2.5 years), you should be especially attentive to the health and well-being of the baby and make sure that he does not suffocate from increased salivation during sleep.

Possible causes of night cough in a child

Such an alarming symptom may indicate the presence of a serious illness that requires immediate medical attention, or it may also be of a purely everyday nature.

Viral infections

Many experts consider this phenomenon to be the most common cause of coughing attacks at night. In the early stages of the disease in a child’s body, manifestations occur in a state when the body is completely at rest , which is why parents hear only a night cough. If you detect such a signal, you should contact a specialist immediately to avoid the viral disease becoming chronic.

With a viral infection, mucus accumulates and stagnates on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, the formation of which is caused by the disease. As a result, when you inhale, the walls of the bronchi contract, causing a coughing attack . Additional signs of viral infection will be:

  • runny nose with impaired nasal breathing;
  • secretion of sputum when coughing.

Allergic cough

A cough that occurs in a child's sleep can also signal the occurrence of an allergic reaction. Moreover, if attacks of allergic cough in a child occur exclusively at night, this will indicate the source (allergen). causing its development is located in close proximity to the child’s bed or directly in it. Such a source could be:

  • low quality bed linen;
  • pajamas (dye or fiber fabric);
  • the material from which the blanket or pillow is made;
  • furniture glue or other substances used to process furniture materials;
  • detergent with which the bed linen was washed;
  • children's paraphernalia located in close proximity to the crib - soft toys, furniture, plastic rattles.

To identify the allergen, it is necessary to gradually exclude one suspicious object from the child’s environment; and also carry out a gradual replacement of bed linen and washing products. When the allergen is removed from the environment, the child will gradually stop coughing and begin to sleep peacefully.

The diagnosis of allergy will be confirmed by the following signs:

  • swelling of facial tissues, including minor swelling, especially in the eye and cheek area;
  • increased lacrimation;
  • sweating;
  • runny nose.

Bronchial asthma

In the early stages, the disease manifests itself only at night (the child coughs in his sleep). Cough during sleep in a child with this disease is caused by spasms of the respiratory tract; in this case, a characteristic symptom is an extended exhalation through the mouth with a characteristic whistling sound .

Additionally, the presence of people in the family with this disease, as well as patients with chronic bronchitis, will indicate the presence of bronchial asthma in a child. A characteristic symptom is a cough that is so strong that it can cause vomiting, as well as a lack of sputum production.

Whooping cough

Another reason that a child coughs while sleeping may be the antigens of the whooping cough bacterium received by the baby during vaccination. Such coughing attacks during sleep, which are part of the reaction to the vaccine, are usually fleeting and last no more than a week .

Gastroesophageal reflux

This condition is not only manifested by coughing during sleep; characteristic of him

in addition, prolonged attacks of heartburn, which makes it possible to differentiate this disease from a respiratory tract disease.


This disease, which in its early stages manifests itself mainly at night, can also cause a child to cough during sleep.

Eruption of baby teeth

When teething, the baby experiences some pain, which makes it difficult for him to swallow saliva (a process that usually occurs involuntarily). severe coughing attacks can begin . In this case, the child should be placed to sleep on his side, not on his back. In order not to be afraid that he may roll over on his back in his sleep, you can place a towel or blanket rolled up under the child’s back.

Another option: if the child coughs in his sleep due to excess saliva accumulation, he can be put to sleep on a large soft pillow (under the upper body) so that the child falls asleep half-sitting. With this mechanism of development of night cough, it is advisable to use local anesthetics designed to lubricate the child’s gums, reducing pain.

Air humidity

Another reason why a child may cough when he goes to bed is insufficient air humidity in the room where he sleeps, since excessively dry air irritates the epithelium of the respiratory tract.

Possible consequences and complications

Situations when a child chokes on saliva are most often characteristic of acute respiratory diseases and the period of teething. There are usually no complications; any baby can choke or choke slightly, it’s not scary.

However, if a child chokes on mucus from a runny nose and finds it difficult to breathe, self-medication or improper treatment can lead to bronchitis (pneumonia). In this case, treatment with antibiotics will be required. If your baby starts coughing, you need to pay attention to this.

Constant contact of saliva on the chin of a newborn can lead to skin irritation: redness, itching, and discomfort. In this case, it is recommended to lubricate the affected area with any moisturizing baby cream containing panthenol. Also, do not rub irritated skin with a towel. If your baby begins to drool a lot, you can only gently blot it with soft cotton pads or a microfiber cloth.

Increased activity of the salivary glands is not a disease, but a normal physiological condition

Cough with reflux esophagitis

The reflux of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus and pharynx causes irritation of the mucous membrane. In this case, the child coughs in his sleep, but not during the day. This is facilitated by the structure of the gastrointestinal tract between the esophagus and stomach, food at night, and dietary disorders. With reflux, the baby coughs at night or immediately after waking up. To avoid an unpleasant symptom, you must follow a diet and daily routine. The baby should be placed on a high pillow and given an alkalized drink.

Parents often hear that their child grinds his teeth in his sleep and coughs. Doctors explain this not only by problems with the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory organs. When eating soft food, the baby’s teeth are not “loaded” enough with work. At night this deficiency is replenished. Of course, this phenomenon is undesirable, because tooth enamel is erased. You should give apples, raw carrots, and nuts during the day (if you are not allergic to foods).

Doctor Komarovsky's opinion

Komarovsky believes that cough due to strong salivation is most often caused by the appearance of teeth; this condition does not require treatment. Even a healthy child must cough sometimes to clear the nasopharynx of saliva and mucus. However, if the baby begins to choke, urgent medical attention is needed; self-medication is dangerous.

Attention! If during the period of teething the temperature rises above 38.5 degrees, most likely we can talk about an infection. This happens quite often, because during this period the child’s body becomes especially vulnerable.

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