Preschool-age children, including 3-year-olds, catch approximately nine colds each year, according to WebMD. One common symptom of these colds is a productive cough, which means mucus is being expelled from the respiratory system. This cough is uncomfortable for younger children and can interrupt their normal sleeping and eating habits. There are several safe and effective ways to help soothe a 3-year-old's productive cough.
Give your child 1/2 tsp honey every six to eight hours. The honey will naturally soothe and quiet the child's cough.
Offer your child different types of beverages, including water, oral rehydrating solution, such as Pedialyte, and diluted fruit juice. The liquids will prevent dehydration and will also thin out the mucus, making it easier for the child to cough it up.
Place a vaporiser or humidifier in the child's bedroom. The humidifier moistens the air and child's respiratory system, allowing the child to more productively cough up mucus. A vaporiser releases soothing mentholated vapours into the air, which will soothe the child's productive cough.
Offer the child a bowl of hot chicken broth or chicken soup. The warm liquid will help soothe the child's throat and cough.
Cover your 3-year-old's chest and neck with a thin layer of mentholated chest rub, such as Vick's VapoRub. These salves contain ingredients such as camphor and eucalyptus that will soothe the child's cough and are most effective at night when the child is attempting to sleep.
Contact your child's doctor if the cough lasts longer than 10 days, if the child seems lethargic, refuses food or liquids, or has blood in his mucus.
Avoid the use of over-the-counter cough suppressants or antihistamines in children under the age of 6. As of 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that no children under the age of 4 take over-the-counter cough medications that are intended for older children and adults.