Croup is a condition that affects babies' and young children's airways. It's usually mild, but call NHS 111 or see a GP if you're worried.
Check if your child has croup
These are the symptoms of croup:
- a barking cough that sounds like a seal (you can hear examples online)
- a hoarse voice
- difficulty breathing
- a rasping sound when breathing in
Your child will usually have cold-like symptoms to begin with, such as a temperature, runny nose and cough.
Croup symptoms usually come on after a few days and are often worse at night.
If you're not sure it's croup
How to treat croup at home
Croup usually gets better on its own within 48 hours.
Until it does:
- stay calm
- sit your child upright
- comfort them if they're distressed (crying can make the symptoms worse)
- give them plenty of fluids
- do not put your child in a steamy room or get them to inhale steam
- do not give them cough or cold medicines
Call NHS 111 or see a GP if:
- you're worried
- your child is getting worse
- they're no better after 48 hours
Go to A&E or call 999 if:
- your child is struggling to breathe (you may see their tummy sucking inwards or their breathing sounds different)
- their skin or lips start to look blue or grey
- they're unusually quiet and still
- they suddenly get a very high temperature or become very ill
Page last reviewed: 30/07/2017
Next review due: 30/07/2020