Parent Information


Croup is a viral infection (usually parainfluenza virus) of the upper airway, including the larynx and trachea.  A hoarse voice and a barky, seal-like cough are the most common symptoms.   When croup is particularly bad, it causes a crowing noise ("stridor") every time your child takes a breath in.  Croups usually lasts 3-5 days and is generally worse at night.


  • Use a cool mist vaporizor or humidifier when child is sleeping.  Make sure the water is changed every night, and clean it very well with bleach or Lysol once a week.  This will kill the mold and bacteria that can grow in a wet environment.
  • We do not recommend suppressing the cough with a cough medicine.
  • Encourage your child to drink lots of clear fluids.


If your child makes a crowing noise while breathing:

  • Take your child outside for 5 minutes in the cool night air.
  • While you are outside with your child, have the hot shower or hot water running in the bathroom with the door closed.  When the room is steamed up, take your child into the steam for 20 minutes.  Sit in the bathroom steam with your child and read him/her a story.  Remain calm, if your child is upset, scared, or cries, it can make the croupy cough worse.
  • Most children will settle down in the steam and go back to sleep.
  • Call us immediately if the crowing sound persists despite 20 minutes of steam.

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