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23 Natural Cold Remedies For Toddlers And Older Kids

Using natural home remedies for cold in toddlers that will only help relieve your child’s symptoms and strengthen his immune system even further. Nasal congestion, sore throat, ear infection or fever – they’re all manageable with natural home remedies! These natural cold remedies for toddlers will help your little one feel better fast!

Natural Remedies For Colds and Flu For Kids And Toddlers - children’s immune system is not fully developed until they’re about 4 or 5 years old, and with the cold and flu season approaching, we need gentle natural remedies to get through a sore throat, nasal congestion, sinus infection, runny nose, cough or a fever. Here are my favorite natural cold and flu remedies for kids that always work – they ‘re safe and fast and help boost their immune system.

There might not be that many natural home remedies for a baby cold, but when it comes to treating toddlers there is an increased amount of choices. Actually you can find a lot of natural cold remedies for toddlers, however some of them are so superficial and ineffective that are no better than just letting the illness run it’s course.

There are also all sorts of over-the-counter medications available to help treat cold and flu symptoms, but many of these contain harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients. In this blog post, we will focus on natural remedies for the cold and flu – safe for toddlers and older kids and without using medication.

Natural Cold Remedies For Toddlers

Don’t panic if your toddler begins to have flu-like symptoms, sometimes there are factors that you cannot control. Look at the positive aspects of the situation: your child will build an adaptive and stronger immune system. Only immune-compromised kids are most at risk of developing serious and life threatening complications from cold and flu.

Recently my two year old daughter got her first flu and shorty my husband and I caught the virus too. So I had the chance to apply some natural cold remedies for my toddler and us.

The flu was accompanied by high fever, runny nose, sore throat, tiredness, coughing, irritated watering red eyes/face and frequent sneezing. The fever was fluctuating as well. Luckily with a little bit of effort and care, the symptoms didn’t last for too long!

So here are some things you can do and some natural cold remedies for toddlers and older kids you can apply:

Provide Natural Immune Boosters For Toddlers / Kids

There are a few key nutrients that help boost the child’s immune system and fight off cold and flu viruses, including:

Vitamin C, Vitamin D And Zinc

You can find all of these nutrients in natural foods with anti-inflammatory properties like lemons, bell peppers, seeds (pumpkin seeds in particular), eggs and leafy greens plus regular exposure to sunlight. Also you could use a few basic ingredients to make a potent home cold remedy:

Homemade Garlic Ginger Lemon Tonic

Blend the garlic, ginger, lemon and honey in a blender to form a paste. I have a post on how to make it this immune boosting tonic. Give 2-3 teaspoons of this mixture to your child per day before meals. It can be a challenge to make your child ingest it, but it’s doable. I usually disguise the taste by dipping the spoon in something sweet (honey, syrups, or a smoothie) before filling it with “medicine”.

Another option is to get ready a cup of tea or smoothie ready, and give them to drink right after they take that spoon. A hugging restrain method also works, be creative, play with your kid, sneak the spoon in the mouth when he least expects it.

This is a very powerful natural remedy for cold and flu, the symptoms will subside quickly. Alternatively you can make a flu bomb drink – this has similar ingredients and is very good for hydration at the same time. Or jus make a simple ginger water with lemon and honey.

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Or you could give your child a natural vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc supplement designed for toddlers, as a preventive measure especially during cold and flu season. Just make sure to choose high quality supplements for your child.


The bacteria in probiotics will naturally boost immunity and calm any gut infection, or diarrhea. Best if taken as a preventive measure. I prefer powders over chewables because these do not have additives, artificial flavors and other fillers. For small kids I like this probiotic specifically, it is easy to mix with food or with drinks, it has multiple strains and 10+ billion CFUs per 1/4 teaspoon, also is dairy, gluten, corn, soy and egg free. Or you can try to incorporate more probiotic-rich foods into your toddler’s diet, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Black Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is great for supporting your toddler’s immune system and the upper respiratory system. Because elderberry is rich in flavonoid compounds, it exerts antioxidant protection on cells.

Look for a natural high quality elderberry syrup, formulated specifically for kids, made from certified organic black elderberries, with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Ensure Good Elimination

Drinking lots of liquids, will ensure your child is having regular bowel movements and frequents urination in order to to help the body eliminate toxins and pathogens. Offer your toddler plenty of fluids throughout the day (for hydration), like:

  • Water with 1- 2 teaspoons of ginger, honey, lemon syrup (cut ginger and lemon in small bits an add everything to a small jar and cover with honey; the take 1 tsp of this mixture and mix with a glass of warm water).
  • Herbal teas (made with immune boosting herbs like:
    • echinacea and rosehips (very high in vitamin C);
    • Fever reducing herbs (linden leaf and flowers (this tastes good too), peppermint leaf, elderflower and lemon balm); 
    • For sore throat, cough and sinus congestion (sage, thyme, plantain leaves, oregano);
    • You can also add ginger, honey or lemon to the tea.

Related: Best Tea For Cold And Flu (Recipe)

Toddler drinking lemon water as Natural Cold Remedies For Toddlers And Older Kids.
  • Fresh green juices/smoothies: a multi-vitamin drink made with leafy greens will boost the oxygen, antioxidant and phytonutrient content delivered to the cells, thus providing a protective barrier. You can try some of these green smoothie recipes, or a beet smoothie which is also a great immune boosting and detoxification tool.
  • Serve clear soups like homemade chicken soup.

Natural Sore Throat Remedies For Toddlers / Kids

Gargling With Lemon Water

Gargling with lemon water is actually very effective for a toddler’s sore throat. It’s easy and fun. The citric acid of the lemon juice has antibacterial properties and helps break down the mucus. It can no longer stay attached to the back of the throat which helps speed out the healing process.

Just add the juice of 1/4 of a lemon to a cup of warm water and teach your child how to gargle.

If your toddler has difficulty with gargling, encourage him take take small sips.

To Reduce Inflammation And Pain Apply A Throat Poultice 

This remedy is great for acute sore throats when the ability to swallow saliva becomes painful.

Thinly slice or grate a medium potato, drizzle a spoon of apple cider vinegar over it. Take this mixture and apply on a piece of plastic wrap, large enough to cover your child’s neck.

I usually lay the wrap on a piece of cloth so that there is a thin layer of cloth between the skin an the potato layer (see image below). To prevent dripping and keep it in place, I use another piece of cloth or an old scarf wrapped around the neck on top of the poultice.

Sore throat natural remedies: potato poultice to relieve sore throat at home. A natural remedy that actually works for adults and kids as well!

Apply the poultice before sleep, overnight (it should stay for at least 4 hours). You can do the same thing with cabbage leaves dipped in hot water for a few seconds, but I found the potato poultice to be more effective.

This throat poultice is one of the most effective natural remedies for sore throat and cough in toddlers and even adults (I make one for me at the first sign of inflammation and when I feel there’s mucus forming), they work every time I make them!

Note: If you already developed a sore throat and you didn’t take any preventive steps, it might take two to three rounds of potato poultice to get rid of it completely.

Manuka Honey To Sooth Kid’s Sore Throat

An effective remedy for painful inflammation of the throat and immune support. It’s effectiveness is due to the fact that it’s made by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree, in New Zealand. The most effective way to take it is straight, 2-3 teaspoons a day (between meals). You could also dissolve it in a glass of lukewarm water and with 1.5 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Herbal Teas For Sore Throat

All teas mentioned above are great. Also oregano leaves are very effective in treating a throat infection due to it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Make a tea by steeping 1 ½ teaspoon of dried organic oregano leaves in 20 oz of boiled water – steep for five to ten minutes and serve warm to your child. Add a touch of honey to make it tastier. Also you could try this tea recipe for cold and flu.

Diffuse Essential Oils

Essential oil like: Pine, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Ginger: add 2-3 drops of 2-3 oils in an essential oil diffuser.

Be sure to use certified high quality essential oils to make sure your toddlers is not absorbing or inhaling harmful chemicals, pesticides or artificial aromas.

Natural Cough Remedies For Toddlers

Raw Sliced Onion

The strong vapor / gas that the onion emits when cut will help stop coughing. While this many may think is anecdotal, all the people I know who used it, were really happy after.

Before your child goes to bed, cut an onion into wedges and leave it on a plate at the bedside (closer to the face). You need to use a fresh onion each time because it’s a great toxin sorbent.

Honey and Onion Syrup For Coughing

It helps to thin out the mucus, reducing inflammation and making it easier to cough up.

To make the honey and onion syrup add ¼ cup of chopped raw onion to ½ cup of raw honey, let it infuse for an hour and then serve the liquid: 1 tsp every 3-4 hours. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Recipe: Homemade Cough Syrup With Garlic, Black Radish, Onon and Honey

If you need something stronger and more effective for an old persistent cough, then this cough syrup works wonders. It will aslo sooth and help a sore throat as well.

I usually make it for adults but it can be offered for small children too (older than 12 months).


Use a humidifier in your child’s room. This will add moisture to the air, which can help to soothe a dry or irritated throat. The extra moisture will help to break up the cough and make it easier for your child to breathe.

Natural Nasal Congestion Remedy For Toddlers

Here are some natural home remedies you can use to unblock toddlers stuffy nose:

Sinus Rinse

Decongest your toddler’s nose with a saline solution (or a saline spray). It will moisturize the nasal cavity and lighten the thickened mucus, making it easier for them to breathe.

For children between 1 and 2 years old – place 3 drops of warm water or saline in each nostril, then gently suck out the loosened mucus with a nasal aspirator.

For kids 2 years and older: use a sinus rinse bottle which comes with salt solution packets, but you can also make it at home with distilled water: 1 qt, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp of sea salt.

Related: Natural Home Remedies For Sinus Infection (Without Antibiotics)

Steam Inhalation

Inhaling steam quickly relieves a stuffy nose, steam will open your child’s sinuses up and facilitate fast drainage. This option is great when you cannot perform a sinus rinse. Ideally is to do both.

The easiest and less stressful way to inhale steam for your toddler is by using a steam inhaler/ vaporizer designed for kids. The procedure should be done for 15 minutes at least 2 times a day.

Diffuse Essential Oils

You can use peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus, lavender or sage to help clear your toddlers congested nose. Just add 2-3 drops of 2-3 oils in a diffuser. These oils are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and decongestant in nature. They will loosen up the phlegm and relieve the congestion associated with respiratory conditions.

Apply Heat For Sinus Pain

Apply heat to the area with a rice sock. Fill a small sock with uncooked rice and tie the top closed. Heat the sock in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, until it’s warm (check on you first).

Place the sock on the sore area, this will relieve all that painful sinus pressure. You can make two of those for each side.

Natural Fever Reducers For Toddlers / Kids

Fever serve an important function in the body’s immune response, it is the body’s way of fighting infection – and thus it should not be suppressed. Check out some fever guidelines in this article.

There are a few things you can do as a parent to naturally reduce your child’s fever:

Ensure Hydration

Give lots of water and herbal teas (mentioned above) to stave off dehydration and help the body flush out the illness. Another effective fever reducing remedy for toddlers is mixing in a glass (200 ml) of lukewarm water with 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of organic raw honey and give this to your child to drink. My kid loves it, it tastes just like a lemonade.

A Five-minute Sponge Bath

If your child is really uncomfortable, a five-minute sponge bath can help. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a few drops of lavender oil. Let your child sit in the water for five minutes, then dry them off and put them back to bed.

Apply A Foot Poultice

Slice 1-2 cloves of garlic (or onion), put them in a little cloth and bond it to the bottom of your child’s feet, make sure there is a thin layer of cloth in between to prevent blisters forming.

Then put the socks on. The juice will slowly be released little by little and will end up in the bloodstream; this is a great fever reducer when nothing else works. The same thing can be done with onion and since it doesn’t burn the skin, you just put it straight on the foot sole and cover with a soak.

Lastly, fevers can make kids feel hot, so it’s important to keep the room cool. Turn on a fan or open a window to help them stay comfortable. Also dress them in light clothing.

Home Remedies For Toddler Ear Pain / Infection

There are a few things that you can do to ease your toddler’s ear pain at home:

Onion Juice And Onion Poultice

Take a fresh onion, cut it in half, steam it (place it in the oven for 15 minutes) and squeeze the juice in a spoon, let it cool a bit and pour 2-3 drops in the child’s ear. Let it sit for 2-5 minutes and cover with a cotton ball to prevent dripping.

Attention: if the eardrum is perforated, nothing should be put in the ears.

Additionally you can use the other half of hot onion by wrapping it in a towel and hold it over the infected ear until it cools entirely. You can do the same with a head of garlic.

Repeat as often as necessary to soothe pain.

Infused Garlic Oil Is Great For Ear Pain

A blend of mullein, calendula and St. John’s Wort flower extracts and garlic bulb extract makes a wonderful garlic infused oil for toddler’s ear pain and inflammation. Warm the oil a bit then place 2-3 drops directly in the ear, finish with a small cotton ball on top.

You can also make a homemade garlic oil, by infusing a few crushed garlic cloves in olive oil and letting them infuse for a few hours. Then strain the oil in a jar and store it in the fridge. You can use it during several days, it won’t spoil.

There are also a few essential oils that can be used to ease your toddler’s ear pain (diluted with carrier oil), and then massaged behind the ear and on the mastoid bone. Anti-inflammatory oils like chamomile and Frankincense are wonderful!

Apply A Heat Pad

Fill a sock with rice and microwave it for about 20 seconds. This will create a temporary heat pad that you can apply to your child’s ear.

If you notice that your child’s ear pain is accompanied by a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your doctor. These could be signs of a more serious infection. Ear pain can also be caused by teething, so if your child is going through that phase, try some at-home teething remedies like massaging their gums with a clean finger or giving them a chilled teething ring to chew on.

Looking for natural remedies for cold and flu for toddlers, older kids and even adults? Check out these effective, natural treatments for sore throat, cough, fever, ear infection, nasal congestion and runny nose, to help you and your children survive cold and flu season without side effects! These natural home remedies and tips will help boost their immune system and get back their health fast.

How To Protect Your Toddler From Cold And Flu? 

Symptoms may begin within sixteen hours of exposure and typically peak two to four days after onset. Sometimes kids can spread the virus even when they don’t have any symptoms.

Did you know that flu viruses can live up to two-three days on a surface?

  • Frequent hand washing, especially after a trip to the store, going to the bathroom, before meals and after blowing their nose (if they can).
  • Wearing a surgical mask (if you are sick already) is also useful.
  • Use separate cups and utensils.
  • Change clothes often, wash the toys and hands with soap. The virus will usually be present on their hands, clothing, and toys as they rub their nose or eyes without much concern.
  • Skip good-night kisses.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • A healthy diet rich in vegetables, bone broth, whole foods, fermented foods, essential fatty acids.
  • Avoiding sugary foods and white flour foods is really important since the immune function is reduced and compromised for up to five hours if your blood sugar level is 120 and up. Specifically, the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to destroy bacteria.
  • Clean the air with an air purifier. After a cough or a sneeze, some viruses stay suspended in the air for hours before landing on surfaces. You can choose between ozone & ion generators (I’m using this one in the kitchen also), HEPA filter purifiers, carbon filter purifiers, UV light air cleaners or purifiers with multiple level of cleaning which incorporate all of the mentioned filters.

I also like to use an Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser. It disperses essential oils as a fine vapor throughout the air so they can be absorbed gently into the body through the respiratory system. It’s a great defense against airborne viruses, bacteria and mold. Most effective essential oils are: tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, thyme and sage. 

  • Bathroom cleaning and disinfecting – especially the sink, faucets, toilet, and toilet handle.
  • Change towels daily during an illness and make sure that everyone has their own. Also disinfect tooth brushes with hydrogen peroxide after each use.
  • Clean the surfaces that you frequently touch like: light switches, door knobs, railings, refrigerator door handle, cabinet/drawer handles, electronic devices (phones, computers, tablets, remotes) using a disinfectant wipe, cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.

These are some of the most effective natural cold and flu remedies suitable for toddlers and small children. My mother applied these in my childhood and never used any other medications.

Back then there weren’t available all these cough syrups, expensive oils and herbs so my mother had to improvise, it worked every single time. The potato, garlic, honey and onions were staple ingredients in treating my childhood cold and flu.

I hope you have found this post useful and please let me know if you have discovered other natural remedies, not included on this list that works wonders for you child!

Lastly, be sure to listen to your intuition. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

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This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Seek the direct advice of your own doctor if you have any questions or issues.


Saturday 6th of April 2019

very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it


Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Thanks! These all are such great tips, especially the potato poultice for sore throat... I heard about it before, people are saying it's very effective.


Thursday 11th of October 2018

YES! when the throat sprays fail, it helped me so many times.