Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

My Child Can't Breathe out of Their Nose: Can You Help?

My Child Can't Breathe out of Their Nose: Can You Help?

Nasal obstructions aren’t unusual throughout childhood following minor respiratory infections or seasonal allergies. However, some children endure so much congestion that they begin to breathe through their mouths by habit. 

If that describes your child, it’s time to visit the pediatric otolaryngology specialists at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat. There’s a long list of ailments that might explain persistent nose blockages. Dr. Scott Bateman and his team can help you by diagnosing and treating the cause of your child’s breathing issues. 

Reasons for nasal obstruction

Even minor respiratory infections like cold or flu can cause big problems for children due to their developing anatomies. Their nasal passages and eustachian tubes haven’t yet reached full size, so it takes less fluid to cause blockages. Conditions that cause nasal obstructions include: 

Less common causes of nasal obstruction include cysts, tumors, and birth defects that cause the narrowing or closure of regular airways. A nose injury can also contribute to blockages. 

Why is mouth breathing a problem? 

For newborns and infants, breathing through the nose is an important part of the nursing and feeding process. Chronic obstructions can interfere with the quality of your child’s sleep, too, and nasal breathing plays a role in their facial development. 

In rare cases, sinus infections can spread, creating more serious systemic infections, and chronic drainage problems can also affect the ears, leading to hearing loss in some cases, if the underlying conditions aren’t treated. 

Relieving congestion in children

When allergies or simple respiratory infections persist, you may be able to encourage natural drainage through a few home care treatments, including: 


Cool mist humidifiers add moisture to the air, making a dry cough easier to bear while helping to ease congestion. Place the humidifier unit out of reach of curious young hands, and follow cleaning procedures provided with the unit to prevent mold, which can be an allergy trigger for some children. 

Suction bulb

Newborns and infants don’t yet have the skills to clear their own noses, so using a suction bulb designed for the purpose lets you gently assist your child. Some children may resist or find the experience painful, so don’t force this treatment. 

Shower steam

After bathing your child, sit with them in the bathroom with the shower running hot to produce a steam-filled environment to help loosen congestion. Don’t leave a child unattended, and don’t let the room get so hot or humid that breathing becomes difficult. 

Chicken soup

More than simply a bit of folklore, the saltiness and warmth of the soup may help loosen congestion while also keeping your child hydrated and eating while they’re feeling ill. 

If your child’s mouth breathing persists, make an appointment with Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat, by phone or online, for an exam and diagnosis. Breathing easy is important for your child’s development, so schedule your visit today.


You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Common Causes of a Sore Throat

5 Common Causes of a Sore Throat

While occasional sore throats aren’t a cause for concern, recurring or persistent pain could indicate an issue. Here’s how to tell if your sore throat is due to an infection, an allergy, or something more serious.

Why Does Earwax Build Up After Age 60?

If it seems as though you’re getting more earwax build-ups as you get older, it’s probably not your imagination. There’s a definite connection between earwax blockages and age, as wax becomes drier and harder to shed.

5 Signs You Could Benefit from a Hearing Aid

It’s a noisy world out there. Many Americans have some level of hearing loss, and exposure to noise is a common cause. There are subtle clues that you may not be hearing all you should, signs that you could benefit from a hearing aid.
4 Reasons to Consider a Chemical Peel

4 Reasons to Consider a Chemical Peel

For skin rejuvenation, chemical peels improve the tone and texture of your skin in a single session. Peels don’t require invasive surgery or injections, and they have a quick recovery time. Let’s look at four great reasons to schedule a peel appointment. 

Tonsillitis vs. Strep Throat: How Are They Different?

Sore throats are common at this time of year, but do you know what’s causing yours? Tonsillitis and strep throat can feel similar, but there are some key differences and complications that make the correct diagnosis important.