Laryngitis in Children: Symptoms and Treatment

It's important to know the signs of laryngitis in children in order to respond correctly. Find out all about it and learn what to do in this article.
Laryngitis in Children: Symptoms and Treatment
María Cantos

Written and verified by the midwife María Cantos.

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Laryngitis in children is one of the most frequent reasons for going to the pediatric emergency room. The respiratory symptomatology that accompanies this pathology can cause parents to worry and even panic, leading to some inappropriate responses.

There are remedies to prevent the aggravation of laryngitis in children and thus reduce the complications that may arise. Prevention is one of the most important aspects when it comes to preventing the most common consequences of this condition.

Find out how to act in the article below.

What is laryngitis in children?

Laryngitis is a respiratory disease that usually comes on quickly that is, it presents itself with a sudden onset and a rapid evolution. It involves the inflammation of the larynx and is usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection.

When a virus produces an illness, the medications available focus on relieving the symptoms. That’s because the body itself will eliminate the infection. For this reason, it’s crucial not to self-medicate children. In other words, you should never give your child any medication without a prescription.

In most cases, laryngitis in children is usually mild and the best measure is prevention. Even so, it’s important to know which symptoms are cause for concern and require emergency services.

You may also be interested: Respiratory Diseases in Newborns

Preventing Laryngitis in Children

Handwashing is important.
Teaching children to wash their hands constantly is one method of preventing and treating laryngitis. Hands are often how viruses and bacteria can enter the body.

The main way to reduce the risk of this disease is to practice prevention habits. To do this, pay attention to the following:

  • Wash your hands. The main means by which viruses and bacteria spread is the hands. Therefore, it’s important to educate children regarding hygiene continuously.
  • Avoid smoke. Avoid smoky environments at home and near children. It’s important to be aware of the importance of eliminating harmful behaviors.
  • Encourage proper hydration. It’s also important to offer your children water frequently to maintain hydration of the skin. Pay even more attention to this point after the practice of physical exercise.
  • Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Eating these foods favors the activity of the immune system.
  • Avoid contact with sick people. It’s not a good idea for children to go to visit relatives or friends who have some kind of illness, especially respiratory illnesses. Avoid taking them along on hospital visits.

Symptoms of laryngitis in children

Laryngitis in children can occur in many ways, but the most common are the following:

  • Coughing. This is one of the symptoms that can worry parents the most when it appears compulsively and does not let children rest. There are home remedies that can alleviate coughing, such as humidity.
  • Hoarseness or aphonia. A change in the tone of the children’s voice takes place as a result of the inflammation of the vocal cords.
  • Pain when swallowing. Children may complain of pain when swallowing throughout the day. This pain will worsen when eating solid foods.
  • Breathing difficulty. A small whistling or straining sound may appear when the child breathes in air. If it’s severe, you can hear this noise without auscultation. This is the main reason for going to the emergency room.

Warning signs and when to go to the hospital

There are specific situations that require parents to have a certain level of knowledge to act in the most appropriate way.

Difficulty breathing

A child in bed with a fever.
Breathing difficulties and fever are warning signs of a laryngytis complication. In these cases, it’s imporant to take your child to the emergency room.

Breathing difficulties refer to when your child has a hard time breathing air. You’ll notice more intense chest or abdominal movement and you may also perceive intercostal retractions. These are characterized by an inward movement of the muscles between the ribs.

On some occasions, you’ll also hear an external breathing sound. This is a sign you should take your child to the hospital for evaluation by a physician immediately.


You only need to consider fever as a sign of alarm if it fulfills certain characteristics. For example, if it exceeds 102 ºF at any time, is higher than 99.5 ºF for more than 3 consecutive days, then take your child to the doctor. Also, if your child doesn’t respond to antipyretic or antiinflammatory treatments prescribed by the pediatrician.

Again, you should never self-medicate your child. That’s to say you should never give your child any medication without a prescription from a doctor.

However, if previously antipyretic-anti-inflammatory treatments prescribed by a doctor have been used, following certain guidelines, you can use them maintaining the same previous recommendations from the health professional.

In short…

Laryngitis in children can cause a variety of discomforts ranging from coughing to breathing difficulties. However, with proper care and timely attention, complications can be prevented.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.