Everything You Need To Know About Your Child’s Chest Physiotherapy


Chest PT is meant for the flow of fluid or mucus in the lungs. It helps transfer mucus to the wider airways where it can be coughed or sucked out by clapping on the chest and positioning your child.

Depending on the needs of your child, Chest Physiotherapy is typically performed every eight to 12 hours. If required, it can be done more frequently.

The morning before your child has eaten breakfast is an excellent time to do Chest PT. This will remove the secretions that have built up and clear his lungs throughout the night so that he can start his day.

Right before your child goes to bed, there is another pleasant moment. This gets your child ready for a restful night.

Getting ready for your child to do chest PT

By relaxing your shoulders, arms and wrists, brace yourself. Cup your palms, and hold together your thumb and fingertips. Proper hand position is critical; it will provide an air cushion between your hand and your child’s chest. Chest PT will not be as productive if you keep your hands flat, and you will hurt your child.

Chest PT is achieved by clapping the child’s chest crisply, yet softly. It’s intended to make a ‘clopping’ sound. A tool called a percussion hammer can be used for small children.

How your child should be positioned for chest PT

Ask the physiotherapist for your child about positioning your child. Your child should be seated, if possible, with his head lowered. The force of gravity tends to attract the secretions in this position to the broader, upper airways where they can be coughed or sucked out. It may help position your child with his head lowered over your lap (if your child is small) or put him in bed with the head of the bed lowered.

To provide some cushioning, a light blanket or baby blanket might be used. If the chest PT is performed right, your child will not be injured. Actually, during the procedure, several kids fall asleep.

Where am I expected to do chest PT?

For Chest PT, there are six primary areas: right front, right back, right hand, left front, left-back, left side. Underneath the ribs, the lungs are found. Be careful not to do Chest PT below the ribs, which could harm your child’s kidneys, liver, or spleen. At least one inch above the ribs, the hand should still be clapping. Also, try not to “clap” on the collarbone, shoulder blades, backbone or sternum of your kid (the bone that runs down the front of the chest).

How long am I supposed to perform chest PT?

Always watch your child closely for signs of trouble breathing while you are doing chest PT, such as:

  1. Coughing 
  2. hard breathing
  3. Colour of bluish around the lips
  4. Increased rate of breathing

Sit him or her up until the coughing ceases if your child starts coughing. If he doesn’t have any breathing problems, reposition your child and finish clapping.

Many secretions or a “plug,” that may cause your child to have difficulty breathing may be loosened by good chest PT. If this happens, then let him take a little rest by sucking your child or making him cough into a tissue. During the remainder of the chest PT, watch your child closely. Suction, or if necessary, make him cough again.