Sick toddler

How To Care For Your Sick Toddler

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Your sweet little one wakes up cranky and feeling warm with a pale face and red circles under their eyes, what can you do to help your sick toddler? Tis the season for cold and flu bugs, seems like everyone gets sick this time of year and it’s hard for kids not to get sick, even if you sanitize shopping carts and keep them from sick people all it takes is one person sneezing by them and bam they are sick.



This very thing happened to me last week, a bug of some sort hit our household and all of us started feeling terrible. It hit our toddler worse than us though he woke up cranky and tired with a pale face and red circles under his eyes and you could tell he just felt yucky.


I am going to cover these topics in this post to help you know how to make your toddler feel more comfortable, remedies to shorten a cold or cough, the best food for toddler cold, and when to call the doctor.

Sick toddler


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What You Can Do To Help Toddler Feel Better

There are several things you can do to help your little one!



  1. The most important one is to make sure they drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the bug that is attacking their little bodies, you can try Popsicle’s if your little won’t drink anything so you can keep him hydrated.
  2. Be sure he gets as much rest as possible, the more time their bodies have to rest and fight the cold or flu the better. This can be hard if they don’t want to because they may miss out on something but you can help by distracting them with books, movies, educational games on your tablet, and lots of cuddle time.
  3. Warm water or tea with honey in it is very effective or you can give a teaspoon full in the morning and at night. These are the awesome benefits of raw honey according to Source I use it for a lot of things and it works wonders on colds and coughs!
  4. Rub Vick’s on his feet and put on socks to help with a cough at night.
  5. Put bath salts in bath water and have your little one soak in it, this draws the toxins out of the body and helps them get over it faster.
  6. Use a cold air humidifier to help with stuffy noses and coughs to promote better sleep.
  7. Cough Medicine that works well for me is Zarbee’s Naturals for cough and mucus, you can get the day and night value pack for a great price and much bigger bottles then the regular store. The night time cough medicine has a small amount of melatonin to help your toddler sleep and it works great! I love this stuff and use it every time my son has a cold or cough.
  8. Vitamins are very important always but at this time they really need them, give your child zinc, vitamin c, and vitamin d3. I use the liquid form that comes with a dropper and a spray.
  9. Elderberry syrup is good at cutting down on how long your child is sick and helps the immune system fight it off, also great to prevent colds and coughs when you take it at the onset.





Best Food For Sick Toddler

Your child may not want to eat a lot of food right now so don’t be alarmed if your little one barely eats anything. The best thing to do is give some bland foods that are easy to digest and ones that will be soft and soothing, especially if your toddler has a sore throat.


If your toddler doesn’t want to eat anything make sure to push the fluids as much as possible, you can try a smoothie or frozen fruit drink, those usually go over pretty well.


Try feeding your toddler some of these foods for cold and cough:

  • apple sauce
  • watermelon
  • chicken soup or broth
  • fruit cups
  • strawberries
  • yogurt
  • crackers
  • tomatoes
  • mighty four pouches





These foods are great for a toddler that has been vomiting:

  • bland food
  • bananas
  • applesauce
  • bland cereal with no sugar
  • soups
  • mixed grains
  • mashed potatoes
  • white bread


Fruit is great for boosting the immune system and helping your toddler fight off the cold.


Orange juice is a good thing to have on hand to help with vitamin C intake (unless your little has a sore throat then it will irritate her throat, make sure to use a low sugar variety if you do offer this) and flavored water or Pedialyte if she isn’t drinking a whole lot.



The more fluids they drink the faster you can flush the cold or flu bug out of his system.


Toddlers seem to know what their bodies need when they don’t feel very good and they will only ask for those foods. I have seen this time and again with my son and other mom’s have said the same thing about their toddlers, it’s a natural instinct for our children to crave the food that will help them the most when they aren’t feeling well.





Food To Avoid Feeding Your Sick Child

When your toddler is sick you need to stay away from certain food that will make things worse for you and your child. Here is a list according to what you are dealing with from flu, colds, and coughs.


Cold & Cough 

  • Cow’s milk – aggravates congestion
  • Juices – some are high in sugar and can reduce white blood cells’ capacity to kill the bug. The citrus can also irritate the throat
  • Fried Food/ Processed Food – these are high in fat and can cause inflammation weakening the immune system




  • Processed Food – are hard to digest and will add to the inflammation he probably has already from vomiting
  • Fruit – some fruit like tomatoes have to much acid in them and could irritate his belly




  • Soft Drinks – due to the high sugar content it will cause her diarrhea to get worse
  • Fruit – apples, grapes, and kiwi should be avoided for at least 24 hours as they can cause more diarrhea






When To Take Your Sick Child To The Doctor

It is essential to know when an illness is serious enough that you have to call your doctor or take them to the ER. Most illnesses in toddlers aren’t serious but sometimes you find yourself questioning if they might be.




This should help you when you are trying to decide if you should pick up the phone and call your pediatrician look at these key symptoms and if your child has these then you need to call.

  1. Fever

– Fevers aren’t all bad even though they are a little scary, it is our body’s way of defending itself against viruses. If your child gets a fever try not to worry too much but also watch for other symptoms such as weakness, vomiting, or if it lasts for longer than three days. Some things like strep throat and mono go for weeks and need to be diagnosed as soon as you suspect something isn’t right.

I actually went through this scenario with my four year old, he had a fever for four days, took him to the doctor thinking he had strep throat, came back positive, he took the antibiotics and it wasn’t working. Things did not improve! I got back on the phone and told them what was going on so we got a stronger antibiotic, the fever came and went and he got a rash everywhere. We had to go get blood work done and found out he had mono.

It is rare for little ones to get sick with mono but does happen. My point is that if you feel something isn’t working or have a feeling be persistent and have your doctor investigate. Do not wait!!


The fever is over 104 and is accompanied by a rash, trouble breathing, trouble waking up, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, or symptoms that don’t improve.






2. Vomiting or Diarrhea

– If your child has continued or frequent vomiting or diarrhea and they can’t keep anything down this is a very high risk for dehydration and can be very serious if not treated. Do not wait if this occurs, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.



Use those mommy instincts if you feel something is wrong with your child that is not the norm take them to a doctor or go to the ER. We have been there many times with Croup and every time our son gets it, it’s worse than the last time.




This article will help you if you find that you are dealing with croup How To Deal With Croup in Babies and Toddlers






Final Thoughts On Caring For Your Sick Toddlers

You may be exhausted but this will pass, try to get as much rest as you can when you are able, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a parent or good friend. Having sick children is so ruff but you will get through it and they won’t stay sick forever.


The usual cold lasts about a week or two, and the flu is about the same but symptoms go away in a couple of days so hang on momma you can do this! I know it is hard but you are strong and resourceful and will make it through this too.




Sick toddler



Related articles on toddler Care:

Toddler Not Eating

How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums


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