13 Natural Products to Soothe Your Kid's Cold Symptoms

With school back in session and temperatures falling, you know what that means: it’s cold and flu season. While sore throats and runny noses might be expected this time of year, no parent likes to see their little ones suffer.

Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, so antibiotics usually aren’t helpful. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against giving kids OTC cold medicine under the age of 4, and says kids ages 4 to 6 should only get medicine if their doctor says they should. They also don’t need treatment for a low-grade fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or lower), but you can give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) if your child is uncomfortable.

While rest and plenty of fluids are key while your child rides out the illness, “many parents want effective and safe options for treating their children’s cold symptoms,” Dr. Joy Weydert, M.D., a practicing pediatrician in Kansas City, tells SheKnows. “They also want things as natural as possible because they are aware of the concerns around some of the OTC cold medicines that have caused harm.”

Just know that there’s one type of natural product to use caution with when dealing with kids: essential oils.

“I don’t recommend essential oils for little ones,” Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, M.D tells SheKnows. “There is increased [likelihood of a] call to poison control, since many can be toxic if ingested and cause skin irritation for some.” And others may pose health risks.

If you’re looking for a safe natural route to help cure your kid’s latest case of the sniffles, here are 13 great natural cold remedies for kids to try. Of course, always consult with your child’s doctor before using anything.

Saline Mist

Want your stuffy-nosed kid to breathe better? Trachtenberg says using a saline spray is “a great way to clear the mucus out since young kids can’t often blow their noses.” A 100% natural, sterile saline mist that’s both drug- and preservative-free not only helps to remove mucus but also safely moisturizes nasal passages. However, Weydert warns that you shouldn’t just spray and go. She says, “The key to clearing nasal passages is to suck out the mucous.” So if your kid isn’t old enough to blow their nose well after the spray, you’ll have to suck out the fluid with a bulb syringe. No one said parenthood was easy.

Little Remedies Sterile Saline Mist, $5.99 at Walgreens

Cool-Mist Humidifier

Running a humidifier can help loosen nasal and throat congestion and can help with dry, itchy skin, says Trachtenberg, who recommends a cool mist model. The BreatheFrida humidifier not only brings more moisture into the room but also acts as a diffuser and nightlight to help calm your little one.

BreatheFrida, $49.99 at Fridababy


An effective cold remedy for your kids is probably in your pantry right now. Trachtenberg cautions that honey is only safe for children over one year old. She recommends offering kids a spoonful of honey or squeezing some in lukewarm chamomile tea to help soothe a sore throat and quell coughs. (It’s a proven remedy!) 

Great Value Clover Honey, $2.98 at Walmart

Zarbee’s Naturals 96% Honey Cough Soothers + Immune

Want an even easier way to give kids honey? These soothers, intended for kids age 5 and older, dissolve slowly on the tongue, and they come with the added bonuses of elderberry, Vitamins D and C and zinc to boost kids’ immune systems.

Zarbee’s Naturals 96% Honey Cough Soothers + Immune, $5.49 at Amazon

Boogie Wipes

Boogie wipes are made with natural saline, aloe, chamomile and Vitamin E, and help dissolve and clean snot and boogers for kids with congestion problems. The consensus on the wipes are that they’re worth the cost. One reviewer wrote, “These seem completely unnecessary until your child is in the throes of a horrible cold.”

Boogie Wipes, $10.62 for three 30-count packs at Amazon

The Honest Company Organic Breathe Easy Rub

Many of us adults have fond memories of getting a soothing chest rub while home sick with a cold. With rose hip, eucalyptus, tea tree oil and rosemary, this all-natural and organic version smells way better than the one from our childhood.

The Honest Company Organic Breathe Easy Rub, $24.95 at Amazon

Erbaviva Lip & Cheek Balm

This all-natural, certified organic balm soothes dry, chapped skin like lips and cheeks.

Erbaviva Lip & Cheek Balm, $13 at Erbaviva

BreatheFrida The Natural Vapor Bath Bombs

For a soothing bath that also clears congestion, try the scents of lavender and eucalyptus. These bath bombs deliver just that — and kids love to be the ones to drop them in the water.

BreatheFrida The Natural Vapor Bath Bombs, $7.99 at Fridababy

Matys All Natural Baby Chest Rub

This pediatrician-tested, all-natural baby chest rub is made with organic ingredients, including coconut oil and Vitamin E. Essential oils like chamomile, lavender, and patchouli help soothe little one’s sniffles. Rub on baby’s chest, feet or neck when needed.

Matys All Natural Baby Chest Rub, $12.66 at Amazon

Throat Lozenges

To find an effective lozenge, Weydert says to look for at least 100 mg of Vitamin C or Elderberry. These ones from Zand not only provide 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C but they’re also made with Certified Organic Brown Rice Syrup, and are free of artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors.

Zand Organic HerbaLozenge Blue-Berries Blend, $2.41 at Vitacost


According to Weydert, many studies support elderberry’s effectiveness and safety for use in treating upper respiratory illnesses and flu, adding that some parents give elderberry daily to their children as a “preventative.” Kids will like the candy-like taste of these gummies.

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Kid’s Gummies, $9.99 at Amazon


Recommended by Weydert, Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic medicine that studies have suggested may shorten a bout with the flu. Sweet-tasting pellets are taken daily until symptoms resolve.

Boiron Oscillococcinum, $26.75 at Amazon

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is “well known for its direct effects on supporting the immune system,” says Weydert. “Studies found that children with the higher Vitamin D levels have lower incidences of upper respiratory illnesses.” Parents can easily dispense drops into their kid’s cereal, yogurt or glass of water. Weydert adds, “Families need to work with their physicians to decide the best dose for them — some may need up to 2000 IU daily to achieve optimal levels.”

Carlson Super Daily D3 400 IU for Kids, $9.99 at Amazon

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