The Ill Child

“The ill child” can be a term that means different things to doctors and parents. The main goal is to determine if the child might be seriously ill.

One key factor is to remember that the height of the fever is NOT as important as how a child is acting. For example, a child with a fever of 101º can be sicker than the child with a temperature of 103º. Many kids look quite ill when they have a fever so it is important to give an adequate dose of Tylenol/Motrin. You should give the medicine and then observe the child in about 1–2 hours to see how sick they are acting.

The following are signs that a child might be seriously ill:

  • Babies—they are refusing to eat or unable to eat because they are breathing to fast, they are crying constantly and cannot be consoled by anything you attempt, the baby cannot be aroused for feedings
  • Toddlers—refusing to play and won’t interact with you, they may appear weak or not moving, if they are crying and cannot be comforted, they are difficult to awaken from sleep
  • Older kids—they my refuse to talk or interact, again they are difficult to arouse from sleep, they do not have period of activity between times of sleep, they are not making sense when the talk to you

It is important to remember that all children will sleep an increased amount when they are sick.   However, the children should have periods of quiet play in between such as coloring or just playing with a toy quietly.