Clinical Tip: Drug-free angle to relieving baby's stuffy nose

May 1, 2005

Parents often seek advice about how to relieve that most distressing symptom of their infant’s upper respiratory infection-difficulty breathing because of nasal congestion. Over-the-counter remedies do not work for babies younger than 6 months, and they often cause unacceptable side effects, such as hyperactivity and insomnia. Pediatricians usually advise parents to use saline nose drops and a nasal aspirator, and to elevate the infant’s head by allowing thechild to sleep in a car seat or raising the head of the crib. I suggest that parents put a thick book, such as a telephone directory, under each of the legs at the head of the crib. In the area where I live, a telephone book is about three inches thick, providing just the right incline to make the baby comfortable.

Parents often seek advice about how to relieve that most distressing symptom of their infant’s upper respiratory infection-difficulty breathing because of nasal congestion. Over-the-counter remedies do not work for babies younger than 6 months, and they often cause unacceptable side effects, such as hyperactivity and insomnia. Pediatricians usually advise parents to use saline nose drops and a nasal aspirator, and to elevate the infant’s head by allowing thechild to sleep in a car seat or raising the head of the crib. I suggest that parents put a thick book, such as a telephone directory, under each of the legs at the head of the crib. In the area where I live, a telephone book is about three inches thick, providing just the right incline to make the baby comfortable.

Glenn Belkin, DOCroton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Do you have a Clinical Tip to share with colleagues? Let us know; we'll pay $50 for each item accepted for publication. Tips sent by mail should be addressed to Clinical Tips Editor, Contemporary Pediatrics, 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. If you submit by e-mail kbardossi@advanstar.com Please include your mailing address.