By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Ng, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatology, National University Hospital.

The little one having the sniffles? Don’t worry, a cold is a common childhood condition and perfectly manageable!

What Are Cold Symptoms?

Common cold symptoms include sneezing, coughing, a blocked and runny nose, mild fever, as well as watery eyes. If the little one continues to be active, eats and plays as usual, it’s probably a cold. This means that your child most likely has an infection that affects the upper part of his respiratory tract (nose and throat) but not his lower airways and lungs. 

Is it something more serious?

Look out for the following red flags:

  1. High fever (38.0 degrees Celsius and above)
  2. Breathing difficulties
  3. Audible wheezing
  4. Very poor appetite
  5. Lethargy

These could be caused by more serious infections of his lungs or airways. Brin him to the doctor when you notice any of the red flags mentioned above.


Bring your baby to the emergency department if your child has bluish lips, or is gasping for air.

Is it an allergy?

Allergies do not cause fevers. Classic symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis/Allergic Conjunctivitis are:

  1. Itchy, watery eyes and nose
  2. Repeated sneezing attacks
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Consistently clear mucus from the nose

These types of allergies usually occur in older children (aged one and above).

Related: 9 Common Issues Babies Face

What Can I Do for My Child?

Bed rest and fluids

The best remedy for a cold is plenty of rest. Also, continue to breastfeed your baby. He might throw a little baby fuss during feeding, especially if his nose is blocked. It’s important to remain patient and keep trying!

Infants below one will need more frequent feedings to stay hydrated, so feed him small amounts of milk throughout the day.

Do not give any medicine to your baby without consulting your paediatrician first. In general, no oral cough and cold medications are given to infants below one year old.

Breathe easy

You can use saline nasal drops or spray to clear mucous from baby's nose. Your doctor may prescribe nasal decongestants (a drug used to relieve nasal congestion) to help him breathe better.

Prevention is better than cure

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your child’s risk exposure.

  1. Keep those hands clean! This applies to you, your child, and anyone else that comes into contact with your child.
  2. Avoid coming into contact with people who are ill.
  3. Continue breastfeeding your child—breast milk boosts his immunity.