Skip to main contentSkip to main content

Croup

Croup is a common childhood condition that mainly affects babies' and young children's airways.

It's usually mild, but it's important to call NHS 111 if you suspect your child has croup. They may need treatment.

Stay at home

Stay at home if your child has a cough, as it could be coronavirus. To find out what to do:

These are the symptoms of croup:

  • a barking cough that sounds like a seal (you can search online to hear examples)
  • 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

Croup usually gets better on its own within 48 hours.

During this time:

Do

  • stay calm

  • sit your child upright

  • comfort them if they're distressed (crying can make the symptoms worse)

  • give them plenty of fluids

Don't

  • do not put your child in a steamy room or get them to inhale steam

  • do not give them cough or cold medicines