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.

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

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