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.
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
Non-urgent advice: Call NHS 111 or see a GP if:
- you're worried
- your child is getting worse
- they're no better after 48 hours
Immediate action required: 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: 31 July 2017
Next review due: 31 July 2020