When Your Toddler Is Sick

Whenever you call your pediatrician for a consultation about your child's illness, she will need certain information. You will need to describe the symptom(s), when the symptoms first appeared, the order in which they appeared, and their severity. Your doctor will also want to be reminded of your child's age, weight, and medical history, and any allergies. You may also want to have your pharmacy's telephone number on hand so that the doctor can call in a prescription, if necessary. If you have any specific questions, it might be a good idea to write them down before you call so that you don't hang up and then realize you forgot to ask an important question.

Take your child's temperature before you call and let your doctor know if your child has a fever and what kind of thermometer you used to take her temperature. You can take your child's temperature in a variety of ways:

  • In just over a minute, rectal thermometers yield the most accurate recording of your toddler's core temperature.
  • You also can place a rectal thermometer under your child's armpit and get an accurate axillary temperature (usually about one to two degrees lower than the rectal temperature).
  • If your child can keep her mouth closed, you can take her temperature orally with a digital thermometer. (Using a mercury thermometer for an oral reading is never a good idea at this age, because your toddler might bite down on it too hard and end up with a mouthful of glass and poisonous mercury.)
  • Or you can shell out $60-75 to buy the latest home medical gadget: a tympanic thermometer that you place in your child's ear for just one second.

In many cases, of course, your doctor will want to see your child in person before making a diagnosis or writing a prescription. During an office visit, be sure to ask any questions that occur to you when your doctor diagnoses your child. If you think of others after you get home, call and ask them over the phone. It's important that you understand what your pediatrician has told you about your child's health and any medications she may have prescribed, so don't be afraid to ask questions. (If you have questions before you go, it's a good idea to write them down so that you won't forget to ask them after you reach the office.)

If your doctor prescribes any medication for your toddler's illness, for example, ask your pediatrician or pharmacist whether it should be given on a full or empty stomach. You'll also want to know how often and how long your child should take the medicine and how soon to expect improvement. You also may find it helpful to know about any possible side effects in advance.

More on: Preschool

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks