Skip to main content

How to Know If Your Child Needs to Go to the Doctor

Learn which symptoms call for a little TLC, and which warrant a visit to the pediatrician.


  • : If a child has severe or bloody vomiting, intense abdominal pain, or a stiff neck along with a fever and headache, or if you're at all in doubt as to the seriousness of a symptom, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Step 1: Know if a fever is serious Call your doctor immediately if an infant younger than three months has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or a baby older than three months has fever above 101 that doesn't respond to medicine. Also check out a fever that lasts more than one day in a child under 2, or more than three days in an older child.
  • : Never give children aspirin without your doctor's approval.
  • Step 2: Evaluate head pain See the pediatrician if your child has an earache and a fever, or an earache so painful it is making them cry. Check out headaches that are frequent, last more than a few hours, don't respond to pain relievers, or are present when the child awakens.
  • TIP: Earaches can be the result of new teeth coming in.
  • Step 3: Assess a stomachache See a doctor if your child has frequent tummy aches that last more than 24 hours; if the stomachache is accompanied by diarrhea, a fever, painful bowel movements, bloody stools, or difficulty swallowing or urinating; or if your child is losing weight.
  • TIP: Severe pain on the lower right side of the abdomen could be appendicitis.
  • Step 4: Size up urinary problems Have your child checked out if they complain of pain while urinating; the urine has a bad odor or is laced with blood; or a long-time toilet-trained tot is suddenly wetting themselves again.
  • Step 5: Appraise a rash Make a doctor's appointment if a rash is extremely itchy, located near the eyes, looks like a bull's eye, is accompanied by a fever or sore throat, or has lasted more than three days.
  • Step 6: Analyze colds and sore throats Take your child to the doctor if a cold lasts more than a week, or is accompanied by fever and coughing that lasts more than three days. See a doctor if a sore throat comes with a high fever and a headache, or a rash, or if it's independent of a cold or flu.
  • TIP: Signs of pneumonia include a fever, shivering, weakness, raspy breathing, a wet cough, chest or abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
  • Step 7: Evaluate vomiting Call the doctor if a child's vomiting is accompanied by a fever, or if they're under two years old and have been vomiting more than 24 hours -- 48 hours if they're over two.
  • : An infant who is projectile vomiting should be taken to the ER immediately.
  • Step 8: Peruse their poo Take your child for a checkup if their diarrhea is chronic, grey and unusually bad-smelling, or causing severe dehydration.
  • FACT: Ear infections are the no. 1 reason parents take young children to the doctor.

You Will Need

  • Careful monitoring
  • Attention to details

Popular Categories