Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

The scoop on croup

If your child has experienced croup, you’ll know how scary it can be for them and you! Croup inflames airways making it hard for children to breathe and usually causing a ‘barking’ cough – like the sound of a seal. 

My daughter has had sporadic croup since she was little. I had my first ever ambulance ride thanks to a middle-of-the-night ‘barking’ fit, watching helplessly as she struggled to breathe. We’ve been told she has sporadic croup. It has been particularly scary as it seems to come out of nowhere, going from no symptoms to very severe in minutes, whereas other types usually build up over a few hours or days. 

I’m no medical expert but here are 4 things which help our family: 

  1. When in doubt, seek medical attention. If you see someone and they waive you off, find someone else. Trust your instincts as not all children present with ‘typical’ symptoms and you know better than anyone what is ‘normal’ for your child.
  2. If you think your child is struggling to breathe, don’t hesitate to call an ambulance rather than trying to drive them somewhere. Kids, particularly younger ones, can deteriorate very quickly. 
  3. Calming your child down can really help. Our daughter loves cuddling her teddy and focusing on him helps her relax. Other types of distractions like singing them a song, watching a video or telling them a story can also help. 
  4. Follow up with your doctor and come up with a plan in case it happens again. We thought our daughter had grown out of croup (children?s airways get bigger as they grow which often means the same amount of swelling has less impact)… turns out not so much so we headed back to our GP for an updated plan!

We’ve worked hard to help our kids to feel comfortable in medical situations – given the amount of time spent at Emergency Departments as they were growing up, this sure has made our lives easier. Given you usually don’t get pre-warning for ED visits, if you are an ED frequent flyer (or even if you’re not) it’s worth dedicating some story and play time with your child to medical play. This can be as simple as a game of doctors and nurses (think of it as a chance to sit still for 5 minutes while your examined). As your child becomes more confident in medical settings you will benefit from one less stress in an otherwise chaotic (usually middle of the night!) excursion.

What works for your family when medical emergencies occur?


Sarah is Co-founder and CEO of Teach Ted, a healthtech startup creating books and digital tools which use the power of storytelling and learning through play to help children and their families face hospital admissions and medical procedures with confidence. 

Sarah and her co-founder, Sare Christensen, hit upon the idea after diverse personal experience traversing the hospital system, professional experience in graphic design, product development and some basic tech skills, along with a healthy dose of ?we can do this? blind faith? possibly driven by child-induced sleep deprivation and years using play therapy to teach their kids the right way to sit on a toilet. 

Their first book, Ted goes to hospital, was published last year and was inspired by their own experiences taking their children to hospital (planned and unplanned!) 

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