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Your nose is blocked, your mouth is dry, and then comes the blissful relief of blowing your nose. It's a great feeling, but not one that comes quite so easily for little ones. That's why for the first few years of life when their nose (and their control over their nose) is developing, we need to give them a helping hand.
But do you know exactly how to blow a baby's nose? This guide will show you how to clear a baby's blocked nose, how to clean a baby's nose once it's unblocked, and how to blow a child's nose when they're a bit older. And remember, you can always speak to your GP for more advice and a little peace of mind too.
How to blow a baby's nose in 4 steps
A blocked nose is common in babies and is usually due to normal mucus that collects in the nose. It’s difficult for a baby to clear themselves – they're only little!1 So it isn't possible to blow their noses with a tissue like we would ourselves. These steps will show you how to clean baby nose blockages before they're old enough to do it themselves.
- Start by thinning the mucus,
so that it moves through the nasal passages more easily. You can do this by keeping your baby hydrated or by putting a drop of saline in each nostril while your baby is lying on their back.2
- To extract the mucus with a bulb syringe
(also known as a nasal aspirator), start by squeezing it to depress the bulb, and then gently insert it into the middle of one of your baby's nostrils. Release the bulb to open it, and it will suck in air and mucus. Carefully remove it and repeat the process for the other nostril.3
- If the blockage persists
and you want to know how to clear a baby's blocked nose, try sitting (in an upright position) with your little one in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes.4 When the mucus has loosened up, repeat step 2 of how to clean our baby's nose blockages.
- Finish by wiping your baby's nose with a soft facial tissue
that’s hygienic and gentle on delicate skin.
Don’t forget to download our fun illustrative guide! You can print it out at home – or, save paper and keep it in a handy location on your smartphone.
How to clear a baby's runny nose
Runny noses can result in a near-constant stream of mucus, which can gather at the opening of the nostrils. This can block the airways and become uncomfortable, or even painful. If you want to know how to clean out a baby's nose mucus that has become sticky at the edge of the nostrils, try wiping around the nose frequently with a gentle wet wipe. Knowing how to clear a baby's runny nose in this way will prevent it from getting crusty and sore.
How to blow a child's nose
Learning how to blow their nose is one of the first steps your child will take on the road to developing good hygiene habits. It doesn't always come naturally, so knowing how to blow a child's nose starts with showing them the basics: how to breathe out of their nose. These tips on how to blow a child's nose will help them learn, and have fun while they're doing it.
- Encourage kids to discover their nasal passages by encouraging them to snort out 'like a dragon' or 'like a bull' while you hold a tissue underneath.
- Put a cold mirror under their nose and show them how they can make white patterns of condensation on the mirror if they breathe out through their nose.
- Light some birthday candles and see if they can blow them out by breathing out only through their nose. Always supervise carefully here and make sure their face and hair stays clear of the flame.
Keep colourful kids’ tissue boxes in easy to reach places for your little one to grab.
1 NHS Children’s Services; Blocked Nose in Babies
2 National Library of Medicine; Nasal congestion in infants and children: a literature review on efficacy and safety of non-pharmacological treatments
3 Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters; Suctioning Your Child’s Nose
4 Medical News Today; What Causes Mucus in the Chest?
Download & Go Guides & Tools
How to Blow a Baby's Nose
Learn how to blow a baby's nose and how to teach nose blowing to older children with this guide on how to clean baby nose blockages.