mom blowing nose of her sick toddler

No one ever wants their toddler to be sick, but unfortunately helping your child through an illness is part of parenting. Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation—the odds are pretty high you’re going to go through all of it during the toddler years. Here’s what you need to know about tackling these common illnesses at home to get your sick toddler on the mend, and when you should call your pediatrician.

In this article:
Fever
Constipation
Diarrhea
Cough and sore throat
Rash
Vomiting
Congestion
Headache
How to soothe a sick kid
When to call the doctor

What to Do for Your Toddler’s Fever

If your child feels warm, it’s time to whip out the thermometer. If it’s 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it’s time to act.

How to treat it

First, don’t panic. “What you should do depends a lot on how the child is acting,” says Gina Posner, MD, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. If your child has a slight fever but seems otherwise fine, you can “let them ride it out” while monitoring them for changes, she says.

But if your sick toddler is uncomfortable and doesn’t seem like themselves, or their fever is on the higher side, it’s a good idea to have them drink plenty of liquids, put a cool washcloth on their forehead to help them cool down and give them children’s ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as needed, says Ashanti Woods, MD, a pediatrician at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center. “Most medicines have a dosing chart on the label but a good rule of thumb is that for each 20 pounds a child weighs, that child would get 5 mL or 1 teaspoon of medicine,” he says.

When to call the doctor

If your child seems really miserable and you can’t get the fever down with medication, the fever is persistently above 103 degrees or if the fever has persisted for five days or more, it’s time to call the doctor, Woods says.

What to Do for Your Toddler’s Constipation

Your toddler may get the concept of going No. 2, but it can be tough for them to grasp why they haven’t been able to go lately—and why they’re feeling so uncomfortable.

How to treat it

Try to increase your child’s water intake and consider giving them prune and pear juice, which can help get things moving, Posner says. (Skip apple juice—it can irritate kids’ stomachs.) Make sure they’re also eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, she says, but try to steer clear of bananas, apples and carrots, since they can actually cause constipation. If that doesn’t do the trick, Miralax can help, she says, as can kids’ probiotics.

When to call the doctor

If none of that works, you notice blood in your child’s poop or you still can’t get them to go No. 2 after several days, it’s time to call your doctor, Woods says.

What to Do for Your Toddler’s Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be tough for a little one to handle, and it can leave your toddler feeling weak if they’re not treated properly.

How to treat it

Diarrhea in toddlers can be caused by a few different things—a virus, food poisoning or too much sugar, Woods says. The big concern with diarrhea is dehydration, which is why you should treat it by upping their fluid intake, he says. (Pedialyte is a good option in addition to water, Posner says.) “It’s okay for a child to continue eating while they’re going through a diarrheal sickness,” Woods says. “However, the child should avoid foods that have red or orange sauces, as it may be confused for blood when the child has a bowel movement.”

When to call the doctor

If your child seems lethargic, can’t seem to keep anything in them or is having bloody diarrhea, you should call the doctor, Posner says. Ditto if the diarrhea has gone on for more than a week or your child isn’t drinking much, Woods says.

What to Do for Your…

Mayra Rodriguez
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Mayra Rodriguez

Content Editor at oneQube
Work from home mom dedicated to my family. Total foodie trying new recipes.Love hunting for the best deals online. Wannabe style fashionista. As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.
Mayra Rodriguez
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