A persistent cough can be tough, especially if it’s keeping them – and you – awake at night. So it’s good to know a few ways to calm a cough and help everyone drift off to sweet dreams.

Giving them soothing syrups with glycerol or glycerin and following a few simple tips can do a lot to tame a cough.

How do I know if my little one has a cough?

  • Very simple – you’ll hear it!

While your child’s cough is often distressing to listen to it is actually doing a job. A cough is a reflex action that helps clear away phlegm or mucus.

How can I help them feel better?

Glycerol and glycerin can help soothe a cough which is why you’ll find them in our range of cough syrups. Here are your options:

Handy tip

If your child is over 1 year old, give them a warm drink of diluted lemon juice and honey. The honey coats their throat, which helps relieve the irritation.

Some more simple tips

  • Make sure your little one gets lots of rest and drinks plenty of fluids
  • A warm drink at bedtime can soothe them to sleep.

How long will it last?

  • Most coughs clear up within three weeks.
  • You might find that a dry cough comes alongside a cold.

When to call the doctor

Coughs are normally nothing to worry about, but they can be really distressing and uncomfortable – especially if your baby is too little to understand what’s going on.

You should go and see your GP if:

  • your little one has a bad cough that won’t go away
  • the cough turns wheezy
  • your child also has a high temperature
  • your little one isn’t eating or drinking normally
  • and if, at any time, your child seems to be having difficulty breathing, contact your GP immediately.
  • The information on this page is not exhaustive. You know your child best, if you have any concerns about your child, you should contact your GP.

See also

Sore throat
Sore throat

Your little one might well have a dry, sore throat for a day or two before a cold kicks in.

More about sore throat

CALCOUGH® Infant Syrup
CALCOUGH® Infant Syrup


Contains glycerol.
From 3 months.
Soothes & relieves dry, tickly coughs.

Full product details

Contact the NHS

For health advice and reassurance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.