Guide to Toddler and Infant Diarrhea

Guide to Toddler and Infant Diarrhea
February 11 08:01 2017

There are some things that every person taking care of a toddler should know. When a toddler is playing well and eating all is well, when the kid stops playing avoids eating then something is going on. It is difficult to find out what is wrong since the child does not know how to express themselves very well. There are a few frequent things every parent should check for first when their child is not behaving normally. The first signs or problems to check for is fever and diarrhea. Most parent know what to do in the event of a kid with fever, it is the diarrhea that we want to talk about and shade more light to help parents take better care of their toddlers.

Diarrhea is very common among toddlers; chances are very high that you will have to take care of a kid with diarrhea or even take them to the doctor. To give you’re the child the best care possible you need to understand diarrhea, its symptoms and worrying signs. The main problem with diarrhea is with dehydration that needs to be managed without delay. A toddler’s body is very delicate when it comes to the balancing of electrolytes. Any imbalance in the electrolyte contents can cause severe problems for the baby.


What qualifies as diarrhea?

Diarrhea is defined by two factors: frequency and consistency.


Diarrhea by frequent stools

As a child grows up they reduce the number of times they need to have stools per day. Starting from 10 stool per day in the early months to around two stools per day around the toddler age. Your kid is having diarrhea if they are having around two times their normal stool pattern per day. You as a parent know how many times your child has their stool per day, an increase by 1,5 to 2 times per day is considered diarrhea.



Diarrhea by inconsistency

Just like in the case of frequency described and explained above, you need to know your child’s normal stool consistency to be able to tell when they have diarrhea. Generally, the consistency changes to a much looser form than usual. It can become watery and change color.

For most kids the diarrhea is comprised of loose and frequent stools. The presence of any one of the two factors is also diarrhea.


What does not constitute as diarrhea?

When a toddler has one or two loose stools it does not count as diarrhea. Usually it is just an effect that comes with a change in diet or travelling. It can also happened with no reason at all, so one or two loose stools are not a cause for concern.


What to watch out for 

The most important things to watch out for when your child has diarrhea are signs of dehydration. The following are signs of dehydration in children: 

  • sunken eyes
  • a sunken soft spot called a fontanel on the heads of babies
  • few or no tears when they cry
  • a dry mouth and or lips
  • dark yellow urine
  • few to no wet nappies


When should you seek urgent medical attention?        

Every parent or person taking care of a toddler should know when to seek urgent medical attention for the child, especially in cases that involve diarrhea. If your toddler presents with any of the following conditions, you should seek medical attention urgently:

  • deteriorating physical state despite home care treatment for the diarrhea
  • high fever of 39 and above
  • presence of blood or mucus in the stool
  • associated with greenish vomit
  • severe abdominal pain


The most common causes of Diarrhea


1. Intestinal Infections

Intestinal infections are by far the most common causes of diarrhea. They are not serious and tend to resolve on their own without treatment


2. Rotavirus

Rotavirus is has characteristic stool, it has a foul smell, watery and has a greenish color. Fever and vomiting may be present.


3. Bacteria

A number of bacteria cause diarrhea associated with fever and vomiting. The most common are E.coli and Salmonella.


4. Parasites

Most parasitic infections in children come from contaminated water. Parasitic diarrhea lasts over two weeks.


5. Food Intolerance

Some children are intolerant to particular foods. Paying special attention to your child’s diet can give you suspicions on the culpable foods.


Managing diarrhea at home

If your child does not present with the signs of urgency described above, you can manage the diarrhea at home. First and foremost, you need to try and and have an idea of what is causing the diarrhea, if it is food intolerance and sensitivity you can solve the problem by eliminating the causing food from the diet and replacing it with a proper replacement. The presence of fever is a sign of infection, try to make sure the child does not contaminate and pass of the infection to other kids. Diarrhea and fever should lead you to evaluate the quality of water that your child drinks above everything else. As a precaution, boil water before giving it to your child, if you can afford it its better to buy bottled water.

In the cases of persisting diarrhea, you should prevent your child from getting dehydrated by giving them the oral rehydration solution also known as the sugar and salt solution. This solution is available over the counter in pharmacies or you can make it yourself at home.



Recipe for making oral rehydration solution

What you need:

  • 6 level teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 level teaspoon of salt
  • 1l of clean boiled water

Mix the ingredients in their rightful amounts and allow the solution to cool.

Administer the solution to the child as frequently as possible.


In addition to the oral rehydration solution, you can put your child under an anti-diarrhea diet.

The most common one that has proved to work over many years is the BRAT diet:

  • Bananas
  • Rice or any form of rice based cereal
  • Apple sauce
  • Toast


Remember to always be on the look out for the signs of severity that we discussed above, if those signs appear then take your child to the doctor. Otherwise home based care is enough to manage mild cases of toddler diarrhea.


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