This time of year brings many health complaints for young kids. One of them is croup, which is usually at it's peak at night and can cause a lot of sleeplessness for you and your kids. While there is no cure for croup since it isn't really an illness, you can make your kids more comfortable.
Croup is characterized by inflamed airways which causes a barking cough during the night. The first thing you can try is to fill the bathroom up with steam and sit in there for a few minutes. Then bundle up and head outside for a few more minutes. Alternating these two is often enough to open the airways and reduce the cough.
A humidifier is also a great way to make your child more comfortable. Make sure to close their bedroom door to keep the steam inside. Vicks can also soothe and make it easier to breathe. A little warm water with honey in it can help with the cough. Remember, don't give honey to children younger than one year of age.
Many doctors also recommend having your child sleep in the same room or use a baby monitor so that you will know if they are having trouble breathing. If you are worried that your child is short of breath be sure to call your pediatrician right away as they may need to be seen in the emergency room. And, as always, wash your hands often to prevent the spread of illness.
Children's Hospital has more information.