Croup is the narrowing of the upper part of the windpipe as a result of a viral respiratory infection.

This results in a harsh, barking cough which is worse at night and may even disappear during the day. The child’s breathing may be raspy and noisy, especially on breathing in.

Croup usually lasts three to five days.


STAY CALM and comfort the child. Anxiety makes croup worse.

Take your child into the bathroom, shut the door, turn on the hot water in the shower, and open the window to let cool air into the room. Sit quietly with your child on your lap in the steamy bathroom for 20 minutes, OR dress the child properly and sit outside in the cool air for 15 to 20 minutes.

If your child is getting better and breathing more easily, return the child to bed and put a cool air vaporizer next to the bed or open the window enough to keep the room air cool.

You may also give the child a cold drink or a popsicle. Use Tylenol® for comfort.

See your doctor immediately if:

  • your child does not improve with this treatment
  • the breathing is worse or the child appears “blue”
  • there is drooling or difficulty swallowing