Little Kids

How to use your child's inhaler properly

Does your child need to use an inhaler for asthma? Here’s how to make sure you and your child are using it right so they get the medicine they need.

How to use your child's inhaler properly

Photo: iStock

Using an inhaler is important for controlling your child's asthma, but do you know how to administer it properly? Here's what to keep in mind.

How to use an inhaler for kids ages 0 to 5

  • Young kids can’t keep their mouths sealed around a mouthpiece, so they need to use a mask attached to a spacer, which holds the medication in the tube while they inhale.
  • To administer it, hold the mask up to your child’s face, press down on the inhaler and have them breathe in and out regularly for six breaths.
  • Your child may fight the mask or cry. That’s OK, says Andrea White Markham, a certified respiratory educator, because “they’re still breathing.” After a while, your kid will get used to the mask. Try practising on a stuffed animal and singing a song during the procedure.

How to use an inhaler for kids ages 5 and up

  • Once your kid can keep their lips sealed around the mouthpiece, they don’t need a mask, but still need a spacer, as it helps the medication get to the lungs and reduces the risk of oral thrush, a side effect of inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Teach your child how to press down on the inhaler and breathe in six slow breaths. It takes some strength to press and may require practice.
  • After, have your child rinse their mouth to reduce the risk of side effects like thrush.
  • Your child should have a rescue inhaler at school. Talk to the school about where the inhaler will be kept or whether your child can carry it with them, and who will help administer it, if needed.

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.