Published: Friday 18 January 2019

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 and, in the case of the Paediatric First Aid, London Victoria.


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