Top Tips for Managing Coughs and Colds - survive the snotty season!

By Katherine Whitby - 12th November 2016

After a glorious Autumn, Winter seems to be upon us. There’s nothing like being prepared, so here are some top tips and a few essentials to have at the ready for managing the all too common, ‘common cold’. Before I had children of my own, as a Paediatric Nurse I thought a cold was as ‘minor’ illness as a child could get. However when my daughter seemed to be going from one cold to the next and we were having disturbed sleep it didn’t feel so minor!

As we know babies and young children are building their immunity when they come into contact with new viruses for the first time. Hence why a common cold is so called, as it is exactly that – common! A baby can catch between eight and ten colds before they reach the age of two! ( 2013)

Don’t despair! How many colds each little one catches will vary but here are a few vital tips to help get you through the snotty season, via (2013) Common Cold.


Colds in kids



What Can you Do to Help?

Raise the head of the cot or bed - this will help to drain mucus, relieve congestion and coughing. For under 1s put something under the mattress such as a rolled up towel, blanket, or use magazines under the legs of the cot. For children over 1 use pillows to help.

A Humidifier can moisten the air and help relieve a dry throat and nose. I have found this particularly effective, worthwhile investment. Otherwise putting a wet towel or flannel on a heated radiator can have a similar effect.



There are many products to ease nasal congestion available at your local pharmacy, which can be used for children and babies over 3 months.  Take a look at this video for a few of the most popular products.

Always check you are using the children’s’ version not adult as they will be too strong. 

Nasal Saline Drops for babies - this will help to loosen and drain the mucus. This is particularly effective before a feed. Keep them upright for a while after using them.

Vapour Rubs - These can be applied directly onto the skin but if you prefer rub onto vest, baby-gro or pyjamas. Beware not to put anywhere that they might rub it into their eyes. Some people swear by putting onto the soles of the feet and then put socks on……give it a go and let me know!

Vapour Drops and Capsules – these have a multitude of uses! Drops can be put into the bath which can work amazingly with steam, on bedding, on tissues to have beside them, anywhere you can think of! Again be wary of them rubbing any into the eyes.

Plug In Decongestants – these are brilliant and work all night!

Nasal Aspirators – differing preferences on these, some parents really recommend them, others don’t fancy the idea.  Use saline drops initially to loosen the mucous and then use with caution to prevent further distress.

Cough Linctus - is available to soothe a tickily throat and help everyone sleep! Use with caution long term, as they are suppressing the cough which is actually the body’s way of removing unwanted mucous from the chest.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website.

If you have any concerns about your baby, or your child has had a temperature for more than 3 days please do not hesitate to seek advice from your GP or phone the NHS on 111.

A problem shared is a problem halved – what are your top tips for managing a cold?!

Take Care,

Katherine x


Please note:

The information provided above is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor, health visitor, or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken by a user based on this information.


The ‘Top 5’ Options for Where to Get Help

By Katherine Whitby – 29th October 2016


One of the most common questions parents understandably have is when to get help, which we cover in relation to many scenarios in the Baby Steps First Aid course. However, key to this is to know what help is available to you.




Have your pen at the ready!

Here are the ‘Top 5’...

Stick them up on your notice board and on speed dial on your phone! Also make sure Grandparents, Nannies and Babysitters are aware of them all.

These are the options available to you starting with the less urgent:

  • NHS 111 is a 24 hour NHS non-emergency number. Call 111 free when you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency. This is a very useful service especially in the middle of the night. They will sign post you to the Pharmacy, out of hours GP appointment or to A&E

  • The Pharmacy is a great resource and nowadays they are open longer hours. They have a wealth of knowledge of the huge range of products, which are available for children. Some are a ‘Minor Aliments Centre’ which can diagnose and treat, saving you waiting for a GP appointment

  • Your GP or Paediatrician – who to see if your child is unwell and requires medical attention

  • Walk in and Urgent Care Centres for minor illness and minor injuries

  • Your local Paediatric Accident and Emergency – as the name says for Emergencies. You can go yourself or call 999 for an ambulance. Consider if your child is well enough to be in a car seat and if you can safely drive and park in making your decision as to how to get there. Make sure you know where you nearest Paediatric A&E is to access children’s services.



If you are going away in the UK or abroad make sure you know where to seek help, should you need it:

  • Emergency numbers - UK 999/ Europe 112/ USA 911, if you are staying outside of Europe make sure you know the emergency number. Not something we necessarily routinely had on our holiday list before having children!

  • Local medical facilities to where you are staying – what is nearby for both general medical advice and emergency services?

  • Make sure you take up to date First Aid and Medical Kit

  • Take your ‘Red book’ with you as this will provide useful information to the health professionals as well as spellings of names and addresses!

Were you aware of all these services? What have your experiences been of using them? I would love to hear from you.
Next time I will be sharing tips on how to manage the often all too common ‘common cold’!

Take Care,
Katherine x


Please note:

The information provided above is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor, health visitor, or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken by a user based on this information.


My first ever blog… How exciting!

By Katherine Whitby – 12th September 2016


This summer I celebrated a milestone Birthday (FYI 40 rocks!), it is 10 years since I started Baby Steps and now I have waved my youngest off to school. And so a new chapter begins.

As Baby Steps celebrates 10 years it is a good chance to reflect on the journey that I have travelled professionally and personally in that time.


Baby Steps Celebrates 10 years


In 2006 when I founded Baby Steps, I was busy working as a Health Visitor and planning our Wedding. Then I was an expectant Mum juggling Baby Steps and maternity leave from the NHS. As a new mother, I was trying to find my feet in the wonder and bewilderment of parenthood. Then I was a Mummy of a toddler, who was fascinated with the world. Next a Mummy of two, enjoying each magical stage, while trying to find the holy grail of a work life balance. And now in 2016 to a Mother of school children working part time in the NHS, and re-launching Baby Steps.

Wow! How did that happen? What a rollercoaster!

We all have our own paths to navigate balancing our needs and wishes as a parent and for many with work. People say time goes fast and it does. Believe me being a health professional doesn’t make those moments when I’ve been so tired and the biggest chocolate bar doesn’t hit the spot, any easier! But the lovely cuddles and the gorgeous things they say make it worthwhile and now I can’t believe they are both now at school.

I am lucky through Baby Steps that I meet amazing families and share in their journeys too. I beam seeing the reassurance the courses bring and absolutely love my work which captures my experience as a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor and Mummy.

So here’s to the next 10 years… School concerts, holidays, proud Mummy moments and all the excitement ahead with Baby Steps with our shiny newly updated First Aid and Weaning courses.


Katherine from Baby Steps First Aid, London


I am passionate about Baby Steps and through my blog I look forward to discussing topics and sharing tips about children’s health, parenting, home safety and nutrition, often ably assisted by my children Isabella and William! Please get in touch with any ideas or anything you would like to know more about.

Have you recently started a new chapter of your own? I would love to hear from you.

Next time I will be discussing the different options of help available to you when you are when your little ones are unwell or injured.

Take Care, Katherine x


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