We examined the factors associated with mother-reported wheeze and dry cough in children living in Tembisa, a residential and industrial community in South Africa. A cross-sectional sample of parents reported wheezing and dry cough in children (aged 1 to 26 months) by completing the standardised International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire with additional questions concerning tobacco use, income, living conditions, and mothers’ educational level. Data were analysed using chi-square, univariate, and multivariable logistic regressions. Of the 493 children who participated, 81 (16.4%) had wheeze ever and 186 (37.7%) had dry cough ever. We observed that children had a higher probability of wheezing if mothers had lived in the area for longer periods (aOR 1.05; 95% CI 1.01–1.08). Children who had trucks passing on their streets frequently were more likely to have had dry cough ever compared to those with no trucks passing on their streets (aOR 3.88; 95% CI 2.29–6.57). In Tembisa, dry cough in a child was associated with the frequency of trucks passing in front of the child’s home. Children were also more likely have wheeze if their mothers had been living in the community for longer times.