Irrigating a baby’s nose with a syringe and saline solution is dangerous to infants under 6 months old and can lead to drowning or severe breathing problems.
Why is nasal douching dangerous for babies?
Nasal douching, which is passing a saline solution in one nostril and letting it flow out through the other, clears mucus in the nostrils. However, it can be very dangerous for babies and toddlers because they do not have the same level of body awareness as older children and cannot consciously stop fluids from going down their pharynx and larynx. Injecting a large amount of saline into their little noses can lead to choking and drowning.
Other ways to clear your baby’s blocked nose
If your baby has a blocked nose, leave the syringe and consider the following options:
- Rubber suction bulbs: Carefully squeeze 1-2 drops of saline solution into your baby’s nostril. Then, squeeze the rubber suction bulb and gently insert the tip inside the baby’s nose, and slowly release the bulb so that it slowly pulls out any clogged-up mucus.
- Nasal aspirators: Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and place the tube gently in the baby’s nostril and suck in air through the tube to remove mucus via suction.
If you are not sure of how to clean your child’s nose, always speak to a pediatric doctor or certified nurse before attempting anything — especially if the child is 6 months old or younger.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (15 July 2021)