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Baby and Child First Aid

Questions and answers about first aid for children: croup

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What is croup?

Answer
Answer

Croup is caused by a swelling in the voice box and airway. This results in the child having difficulty breathing and a short barking cough. Croup can be alarming because it often occurs at night time, but it usually passes fairly quickly if the child is encouraged to sit up and relax.

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Q

Do I need to call an ambulance if my child has croup?

Answer
Answer

Not necessarily. You should seek medical advice if you are unsure. If the child becomes very distressed and has a high temperature call 999.

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Q

What aged child does croup affect?

Answer
Answer

Croup commonly affects children aged from six months to three years, with most cases occurring in one year olds. It can sometimes develop in babies as young as three months, and older children up to 15 years of age.

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Q

Will croup pass or will my child have it for life?

Answer
Answer

Croup is a childhood condition. Episodes of croup may last hours or days. Once a child has croup it may flare up every now and again but it will stop altogether as the child gets older.

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