Published: Thursday 27 August 2020

Croup is a condition that affects babies' and young children's airways which is usually mild. It affects the voicebox, windpipe and airways. Around 3% of children get croup, usually in the winter months.

Children often have cold like symptoms to begin with such as a runny nose, raised temperature and a cough.

What are the symptoms of croup?

You can recognise croup by one of more of these symptoms:

  • barking ’seal like’ cough
  • a hoarse sounding voice
  • breathing difficulties
  • rasping sound when inhaling

Croup symptoms can be worse in the evening and at night.

Croup often gets better on its own after 2-3 days.

What should I do if I think my child has croup?

Usually you can care for your child at home. You should:

  • Keep calm
  • Sit your child upright and / or prop up their cot
  • Comfort them if distressed as crying can make it worse
  • Give them lots of fluids to drink

Do not:

  • Put them in a steamy room
  • Give them cough/cold mixtures

See your GP or contact 111 if you are worried or you feel your child is getting worse.

You should go to A & E or call 999 if:

  • Your child is struggling to breath (such as sucking in their tummy or their breathing sounds different)
  • Their lips turn blue or grey
  • They are unusually quiet and still or not responding.

Want to ensure your first aid skills are up-to-date? Childcare professionals can join us on our Paediatric First Aid course and parents/carers or family members can come to our Baby and Child First Aid course. We run our courses in Sussex at venues in Brighton & Hove and Angmering.


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