To treat a toddler's cough, have the child drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice and soup to stay hydrated. This clears bodily secretions like mucus, making it easier to cough, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Giving toddlers one-half to 1 teaspoon of honey has the same effect. Toddlers who do not want to drink fluids may eat popsicles, according to What To Expect.
Drinking warm, decaffeinated teas can help coughs by soothing any tickling in the throat, notes What To Expect, as can running a cool mist humidifier in a toddler's room at night, which also loosens mucus. To treat a barking cough, toddlers should be exposed to the steam from a hot shower for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, which eases inflammation in the lungs. Cold air also eases inflammation in the airways; toddlers can be exposed to cold outside air in winter or the cold air of an open freezer.
According to the AAP, home remedies for treating coughs may work better than medicines, which have potentially harmful side effects for toddlers. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the AAP state that over-the-counter drugs used to treat coughs can harm children under the age of 4. Cough drops can be given to children 6 years and older.