Childhood Colds

By Laurel Hoffmann, MD, MPH

By Laurel Hoffmann, MD, MPH

Little ones all over are starting to swap viruses as Portland goes into winter hibernation mode.  All those colds (upper respiratory infections) lead to sniffles, snot, and boogers galore.  You have probably heard of the “snot suckers” that give parents a chance to grab those boogers through a straw-filter type device.  The reactions to those suckers range from complete disgust to cautious optimism.  

“Is there something that is going to help my baby sleep, eat, or feel better in any way?  I’ll try anything!”  

We at Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care decided to give you cautiously optimistic parents a hand and reviewed a few of those suckers. We now bring you ... the battle of the boogers!


Pros:  The design is simple, which leads to an easy-to-clean device.  We found this to be the most widely available sucker at a variety of stores.

Cons:  The nasal tip does not make a strong seal with the baby nostril.  In the game time situation of a squirming, screaming baby, it is difficult to maintain a seal and get adequate suction.


Pros:  They give these away!  A free booger-sucker is better than no booger-sucker at all.

Cons:  The suction is sub-optimal, as it lacks to control of the human-powered straw.  This model works fairly well for very smooth, watery secretions, but for sticky snot, it misses the mark.


Pros:  This model is our winner!  The straw-filter design is simple, as with the NoseFrida.  However, this nasal tip is more squishy and forming to the nostril.  It is softer on little noses, while it also makes a better seal.  For the squeamish, it converts from the straw-sucker to a bulb-sucker (no mouth involved!)

Cons:  There are more nooks and crannies to clean in this one.  However, as with all booger-related material, you should be washing it well and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.   

Kid's Urgent Care Nasal Suction

We have our own über-snot sucker here at Pacific Children’s, but it is medical equipment and therefore exempt from competition.  It is one of the many tools we have to provide evidence-based acute care for kids.  We hope you don’t need us, but we are here if you do!

Here are some signs that your child has something more serious than an upper respiratory infection and should seek care:

  • Any difficulty breathing or breathing rapidly

  • Lips or skin turns blue

  • Nostrils are widening with each breath or the skin above or below the ribs is sucking in with each breath (retractions)

  • Persistent temperature over 102 Fahrenheit (38.9 Celsius)

  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability  

*Note:  Pacific Crest Children's Urgent Care has no financial ties to any of these companies and no conflicts of interest to report.  Please feel free to share this article but any commercial usage is prohibited without permission of Pacific Crest Children's Urgent Care.

Corey FishRunny Noses