It's called croup…a viral upper respiratory infection that causes your child's trachea and larynx to become inflamed making it difficult for them to breath.
Croup starts out as a runny nose but as the virus progresses, it turns into a raspy cough. When it does, your child may have difficulty breathing especially at night.
If you hear your child's cough sound more like a barking seal…turn on the shower, get it as hot as you can and close the bathroom door. Let the bathroom fill with steam as this will open up your child's their airways and help them breath easier.
If the steam doesn't help, head outside into the cooler, night air. Your child should be feeling better in 5 to 10 minutes.
In the morning, if your child symptoms continue, you may want to call you pediatrician. They will likely prescribe a steroid to help shrink your child's airways. Always air on the side of caution when dealing with respiratory problems.
I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor helping parents take charge.