Nasal suctioning in the hospital (1950)

Key points below

What is nasal suctioning?

Nasal suctioning is a way to clear mucous out of the nose and back of the throat. A small tube is put into your child’s nose and mouth to suck out the mucous.

Why is it needed?

In the hospital, we will clear out mucous for your child if they cannot clear it on their own. When mucous is stuck in the nose and the throat, it can make it hard for your child to breathe. 

It is better to breathe through the nose because the nose warms and moistens the air before it reaches the lungs.  When children breathe through the mouth, the dry air can cause a sore throat. 

Infants and young children have a hard time eating when their nose is filled with mucous.  Your child will eat and breathe better if the nose is cleared of mucous before meals.

How does it affect my child?

The picture shows what it will look like when your child’s nose is suctioned. The tube goes into the nose to suck out the mucous.  

Your child may want to move around or try to pull the catheter out. This could cause the nose to get sore. To help your child stay still, we may wrap a blanket around your child’s arms to keep them still. The blanket will be removed as soon as we are done. Clearing out mucous will only take a few minutes. Suctioning can irritate the nose. It is normal for there to be a little blood in your child’s nose after suctioning. 

For other health and wellness information, check out this resource:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.