Baby Sore Throat

image001Since a baby cannot talk to tell you where it hurts, it will find other ways of letting you know. When a baby has a sore throat, they will behave abnormally because of the discomfort. If you carefully observe your baby, you will be able to detect the different behavior that indicate illness and pain. Having this knowledge makes it easy for you to tell when your baby needs medical attention.

What Are the Symptoms of Baby Sore Throat?

Symptoms of a sore throat may vary depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms of baby sore throat may include:

  • The baby’s throat appears to be infected (is flecked with pus, swollen or bright red).
  • They seem to have a hard time swallowing easily or they’re unable to open wide.
  • They have labored breathing.
  • They have no appetite, have a stiff neck, have signs of dehydration, and are excessively cranky or drool a lot.

What Causes Baby Sore Throat?

If your baby has sore throat, let your doctor know so that they can take a look at them. Bacterial infections can damage your baby’s body if they go untreated. Here are some of the things that cause baby sore throat:




This is by far the most common cause of baby sore throats. None of them can be treated using antibiotics. They can be painful and accompanied by high fever and can feel just as bad as the baby would if they had strep throat.


Common colds can also cause sore throat. It is one of the many symptoms. Post-nasal drip and coughing irritate the throat.

Strep throat

This is caused by strep bacteria and you can treat it with antibiotics.

Hand, foot and mouth disease (Coxsackie virus)

This virus causes painful canker sores on lips, gums, cheeks and the throat. It also causes high fever.


Even though they do not cause sudden painful sore throats, they can sometimes cause chronic mild irritation of the throat.

Various conditions

Children can also get sore throats caused by various conditions including flu or cold virus, croup, measles and chickenpox. As a matter of fact, viral infections are the most common causes of sore throats. If the diagnosis by your doctor shows the baby has tonsillitis, it means that that bumpy tissue you see at the back of your child’s throat is a bacteria or virus infection.

Streptococcus & whooping cough bacteria

Streptococcus is the most common bacteria, but is not commonly found in toddlers and babies. Whooping cough bacteria also causes sore throat.

Irritants in the air

These can also cause baby sore throat and they include dog or cat dander, secondhand smoke, ragweed, trees and grass pollen and dust. The allergic reaction triggered by these irritants is called hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

Dry heat

This makes it hard for the baby to swallow especially if he tends to sleep with his mouth open. If your baby sleeps with mouth open, the mouth will be dry when he wakes up and will be okay once he drinks some liquid.

Other reasons

Lesions caused by gingivostomatitis (which is also known to cause sore throat) can make your baby miserable. Teething and thrush are also some causes of sore throat.

How Can I Soothe Baby Sore Throat?

1. Provide Plenty of Liquid

Give your baby some chicken broth sips as they are great for fighting inflammation. The warmth can also help ease the pain caused by the sore throat. Alternatively, you can give him some lemon juice with water or hot tea. If the child is below a year old, do not add honey to the warm liquid and ensure that the liquid will not burn his mouth.

2. Cool Your Baby Down

Soothe your baby’s throat with a formula Popsicle, frozen breast milk or a frozen washcloth. Monitor your baby as he sucks the Popsicle or washcloth to protect him from choking. This will also keep your baby hydrated.

3. Use a Humidifier

Humidify the baby’s room so that moisture is added to the air. When the air is dry, your baby finds it hard to swallow when asleep. Add some drops of essential oil like thyme, sage or eucalyptus. The vapors will soothe the baby’s sore throat.

4. Offer Pain Relievers

Consult your doctor about giving the baby pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease the pain. Make sure that you only administer the recommended dosage given by your doctor.

5. Don’t Use Honey to an Infant

A baby’s digestive tract has not yet matured. Therefore, honey can be dangerous for their health. This is more so if they were to consume a sample that is contaminated.

6. Gargle Warm-Salty Water

Mix a quarter to a teaspoon full of salt in warm water (about 8 ounces). Give it to the child to gargle (if he can).

7. Anesthetic Throat Gargle

Chloraseptic will work well as long as your child is old enough not to swallow it.

8. Tea

Some herbal tea with lemon or some honey might also work.

Check this video out to learn some tips on caring for baby sore throat from medical professionals:

How to Prevent My Baby from Getting Sore Throat

As it is with all contagious infections, regularly wash your child’s hand to keep him from picking it up. Also, take the following precautions:

  • Keep away from crowded environments during fall and spring since that is when sore throats are most common. If you cannot avoid crowded places, teach your child to steer clear of sick kids and not make any physical contact especially with other kids’ mouth, nose and eyes. The reason being that those are the places where bacteria can enter your child’s body.
  • Replace the toothbrush your child has after the sore throat clears up. This will help prevent re-infection.

When to See a Doctor

  • If the sore throat is mild and lasts more than a week.
  • If your child is 3 months or younger and has a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher.
  • If the baby is 3 months old or older, consult the doctor about the fever. The doctor might want to see the baby if he or she is 3 to 6 months old and has symptoms of sore throat and fever of 101 F.
  • If he is over 6 months and has a fever that reaches 103 F.