Last updated: August 12, 2021

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When babies are sick, it is often a very complicated matter, not only for the little ones. Babies have no understanding for this temporary state of indisposition and, moreover, cannot communicate their problems and complaints in a very understandable way. Parents themselves then have to be particularly patient because their child's reaction is usually accompanied by loud crying.

Nevertheless, we are of course aware of the causes and symptoms of a cold and can therefore give our children some support. In the case of a cold, for example, the (or the) well-known nasal spray helps, which is also available especially for babies. Our editorial team has put various baby nasal sprays under the microscope and presents the favourites here in our baby nasal spray test 2021.

The most important thing

  • Always use a special nasal spray for babies, as the dosage in other nasal sprays is too strong.
  • Make sure you don't use the nasal spray for too long so that your baby doesn't get used to it.
  • If your baby doesn't like nasal spray, there are many other ways to relieve your baby of a stuffy nose, but it's best to check with your paediatrician.

The Best Baby Nasal Spray: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a nasal spray for babies.

What is a nasal spray for babies?

A nasal spray for babies is designed for babies and toddlers because they need extra gentle remedies when they suffer from a blocked or runny nose. With a nasal spray, you simply spray the liquid directly into the nose and the mucus dissolves.

There are many alternatives for nasal sprays, especially for babies, which we will discuss in more detail later. So if your child doesn't like the nasal spray as much, you can choose a more suitable alternative.

To help your baby get well quickly, you can choose from a variety of alternatives to fight the common cold. But make sure that the method is suitable for your child's age! (Image source: / Pexels)

There are a lot of things to consider when using a nasal spray, especially with babies, which is why you should inform yourself well before buying one. Also, many sprays require a prescription, so you may need to consult a doctor.

What can I use a nasal spray for babies for and what do I need to consider?

Nasal sprays for babies are used for a variety of conditions. You also need to consider the age of the child, as there can be differences. It is best to read the package leaflet or ask a doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Possible complaints can be:

  • a stuffy nose that makes it difficult to breathe
  • a runny nose
  • a dry nose
  • a cold

Depending on the symptoms your baby has, different nasal sprays may be suitable. However, you also have to pay attention to the age of your child, as there are often different nasal sprays for children up to one year and from two to six years. To be on the safe side, it is better not to give your child nasal sprays with xylometazoline.

If you are unsure about which nasal spray to use, please ask a doctor for advice as the wrong nasal spray can have serious side effects.

Can I give my baby an adult nasal spray?

No, you should not give your baby an adult nasal spray because the dosage of the ingredients, such as xylometazoline, is usually much too high. Since such active substances can reach the brain in babies and small children, this can cause the circulation and breathing to shut down. This can quickly lead to severe side effects, which you should avoid at all costs! There are also special nasal sprays for slightly older children.

Do not give your baby any nasal sprays that are intended for adults or children over the age of 6, as this can cause severe side effects! (Picture source: / ThorstenF)

Which nasal spray for babies do I use if I want to fly by plane and what do I have to watch out for?

It depends on whether your baby is healthy or has a cold. If he has a cold, you will need decongestant nose drops or a nasal spray. Also, if you want to help equalise the pressure, such sprays can be helpful. As aeroplanes often have very low humidity, you can give your baby saline-based nasal drops to moisten the nose.

To help equalise the pressure, you can also give your child a drink or let him or her suck on a dummy shortly before take-off. When landing, you should start this about 20 minutes before landing.

If you want to fly with your baby, it is better to discuss this with your paediatrician to make sure everything goes smoothly.

What are the alternatives to nasal spray for babies?

There is a wide range of alternatives to nasal spray, especially for babies. These include nasal drops, nasal douches and nasal aspirators. You can also make your own nasal spray with saline solution. We have summarised what distinguishes which method here:

Method How to use
Nasal drops One drop is put into each nostril with a pipette or dropper.
Make your own nasal spray This is an inexpensive variant that requires hardly any utensils. However, you have to be careful to get the right dosage.
Nasal douche A saline solution is used to rinse the nose. A special attachment is attached to a bottle and you let the liquid run in through one nostril and out through the other.
Nasal aspirator Here the secretion is sucked out of the nose either with an attachment for the mouth or for the hoover or with a pump ball.

What side effects can a nasal spray for babies have?

If you use the right nasal spray, side effects are rare because the dosage has been adjusted to the age of the baby. However, possible side effects include irritation of the nose, such as sneezing or burning of the mucous membranes, and hypersensitivity of the skin, such as rashes or itching.

Decision: What types of nasal sprays are there for babies and which one is right for you?

When deciding which nasal spray is right for you, you need to distinguish between two types of sprays. One is a spray with saline solution and the other is a decongestant nasal spray. We will now explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What distinguishes a saline nasal spray for babies and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Nasal spray with saline solution moistens the nose and prevents bacteria from accumulating. It can also help with a mild cold. This is true for isotonic saline sprays, but with hypertonic nasal sprays the salt content is higher and therefore they have a decongestant effect. Either table salt or sea salt is used here.

  • Moistens the nose
  • Prevents the accumulation of bacteria
  • Hypertonic nasal sprays have a decongestant effect
  • Isotonic nasal sprays do not have a decongestant effect
  • Isotonic nasal sprays do not help so well if the baby cannot sleep well

What are the characteristics of a decongestant nasal spray for babies and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Decongestant nasal sprays usually use xylometazoline, which clears mucus from the nose for a longer time. This means that your baby can breathe and sleep better for longer. These nasal sprays are especially popular in the morning and at night.

However, it is important to remember that these nasal sprays should not be used for more than a few days, otherwise the mucous membranes will be damaged. In addition, the use of nasal sprays can lead to addiction because after excessive use, the body gets used to the extra moisture and asks for more.

  • These nasal sprays reduce swelling
  • The nose is cleared of mucus for longer
  • Your baby can sleep better as it often allows them to breathe freely all night
  • You should only use decongestant nasal sprays for a few days
  • They can damage the mucous membranes
  • You can become dependent on these sprays

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate nasal sprays for babies

To compare nasal sprays for babies, we have compiled the following criteria:

  • Ingredients
  • Area of application
  • Age of the baby
  • Filling quantity

In the following, we will go into each of these criteria and explain what you should look out for in each case.


The ingredients of your nasal spray are crucial for its effectiveness. That's why you should pay special attention here so that you find the right nasal spray for you. We distinguish between nasal sprays with saline solution and those with xylometazoline. We also cover the topic of preservatives.

When it comes to nasal sprays with saline solution, there are those with sea salt and those with table salt. These are more for moistening the nose and only partially decongestant. Nasal sprays with xylometazoline, on the other hand, always have a decongestant effect and should only be used for acute symptoms.

Benzalkonium chloride is often used to preserve nasal sprays, but it damages the cells and can cause allergies. Therefore, it is usually recommended to avoid nasal sprays with preservatives, as there are good alternatives on the market. With these, a special spray system prevents bacteria from getting into the bottle, making the use of preservatives unnecessary.

Area of application

The area of application can also be differentiated. Here there are decongestant sprays and moisturising sprays.

For decongestant sprays, you can choose between those with xylometazoline and hypotonic saline sprays. For moisturising sprays, you usually use sprays with isotonic saline solutions that can be used permanently. There are special nasal sprays for allergies.

Age of the child

Especially for babies, it depends on the age of the baby which nasal spray you can use. Nasal sprays for children (6 years and older) and adults cannot be used because the dosage of the ingredients is usually too strong. Therefore, pay special attention to whether the nasal spray is suitable for your baby and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

For your baby, you can actually only use nasal sprays that are intended for the respective age. Up to the age of two, nasal sprays with a xylometazoline concentration of 0.025% or salinity of 0.9% are recommended. From the second to the sixth year of life, sprays with a xylometazoline concentration of 0.5% can be used.

Filling quantity

The nasal spray you use also depends on how much you need to fill it. Common sizes are 5, 20, 50, 100 and 120 ml. We have summarised for you what size is usually used for:

Filling quantity Use
5 - 20 ml These sizes are often used for individual nasal sprays.
50 ml This size is often used when a nasal spray can be used in any position.
100 - 120 ml These are more likely to be large packs or packs with many small ampoules

Facts worth knowing about the nasal spray for babies

How do I use a nasal spray for babies correctly?

Nasal sprays are given directly into the nose and distribute themselves into the sinuses. You spray one puff into each nostril. But this does not always work properly for children and babies. We will now explain what you can do if they don't want a nasal spray or move around a lot.

When giving nasal spray, it depends a bit on how you do it. If you seem relaxed and don't make a big fuss about it, it will be easier for you. Even if you are successful, you should of course comfort your child, but praise him or her more and say things like, "There you go, that wasn't so bad That wasn't so bad" to your baby.

You can also put the whole procedure into a game and praise your baby. For example, you can put a cloth over their eyes so they don't see you holding the nasal spray. If your child is a bit older, you can also demonstrate the whole thing on yourself with an empty spray and show how good it is for you.

If all these tips don't help, you can also use ointments and similar alternatives that you don't have to put in the nose. However, make sure you are well informed so that your baby can breathe again quickly and talk to a doctor or pharmacist about your problem.

Dr. med. Nina BuschekNetDoktor Redaktion
When using nasal spray, make sure that you pull it all the way out of your nose before spraying a second time so that no germs get into the spray. Also, clean the spray thoroughly after use and only use it on one child. Also make sure that the expiry date is not exceeded. (Source:

How many times a day can I give a nasal spray for babies?

Nasal spray is usually used two to three times a day. You can also use it that often for babies if you use a suitable spray. However, you should read the package leaflet or ask a doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

How long can I give a nasal spray for babies?

It depends on which nasal spray you use. You can use a saline nasal spray every day because it does not contain any harmful substances. With decongestant nasal sprays, you must make sure that you do not use them for longer than a few days (between 4 and 7 days). Your baby could become dependent on them.

When using nasal sprays, be sure to follow the instructions of your paediatrician or the package leaflet, as prolonged use can quickly lead to a habituation effect, i.e. dependence.

What do I do if my baby is sleeping and I want to give him a nasal spray?

You must not give your baby a nasal spray when he is asleep, as he can get frightened very easily! Also, the liquid can get into the windpipe, which is why your baby can swallow! If you want to give it, your baby must be awake.

What can I do if my baby gets a nasal spray in his mouth or eyes?

If your baby gets saline nasal spray in his eyes or mouth, it is completely harmless. You should still wash it out of the eyes. For nasal decongestants, read the package leaflet and ask your doctor or pharmacist.

How do I make my own nasal spray for babies?

You can easily make your own nasal spray by mixing distilled or boiled water with table salt. For one litre, use 9 g, i.e. about 2 teaspoons. Make sure you get the right dosage for your baby! If you are unsure, you should probably use conventional products.

You can then fill the liquid into a sterile nasal spray bottle, which you can either buy or boil an old one. The nasal spray will keep for up to two days and should never be used if the water becomes cloudy.

Picture source: / Aditya Romansa

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