If you child is crying inconsolably it can be very troublesome for parents and children, especially in the middle of the night. Here are some tips to help you determine the cause and provide the proper relief to your child.
- Teething– a very common cause of fussiness in infants age 4 months to 2 years. Other signs of teething include vigorous chewing on hands or toys, drooling, and bulging gums.
- Ear infections– if your child has a worsening cold and possibly a fever, then suddenly develops fever and unusual fussiness during the night, an ear infection is a possibility. However, if your child does NOT have cold symptoms and fever, then it’s probably not an ear infection. Click on ear infection for more info.
- Upset stomach– in breastfed infants, occasionally your baby’s stomach may get upset by something mom ate earlier in the day. This can cause severe gas pains, which can last for hours. Click on colic below for more info.
- Colic– this is inconsolable crying in young infants which occurs daily and lasts for several hours. Click on it for more info.
- Insect bite– these can be painful, especially spider bites.
- Mouth sores– a virus called coxsackie (hand, foot and mouth disease) can cause high fever and canker sores throughout the mouth which are very painful. Click on it for more info.
- Sore throat– a very bad sore throat can be a cause of fussiness.
- Scratched eye– sometimes an infant can accidentally scratch her eye, which can be very painful. A red, tearing eye can clue you in to this.
- Hair tourniquet – this occurs when a piece of long hair gets inadvertently wrapped around your child’s toe and strangles the tip of the toe, causing swelling, pain, and bleeding. You should seek medical attention within a couple of hours so the hair can be pulled or cut out.
- Find the cause – undress your child and examine the eyes, mouth, skin, and toes for the above causes. If you identify one of the above causes, click on it for more information on treatment.
- Pain medication – acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with pain from most of the above causes, even if you are not certain what the cause is. Click on them for dosing.
The top 7 causes above are not dangerous and generally do not require medical attention during the night. Contact your doctor the following day if the problem persists.
- Scratched eye– if you suspect this, you generally should seek medical advice within 4 – 6 hours. So if it’s early evening, a trip to an urgent care center or call to your doctor is warranted. If it’s the middle of the night, then you can safely wait until morning to contact your doctor.
- Hair tourniquet – you should seek medical attention within a couple of hours of discovering this. The hair is difficult to remove yourself, as it is easy to miss deeper strands.
If your child has any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away or go to the nearest ER:
- Repeated projectile vomiting AND rigid abdomen
- Unusual behavior such as failing to make eye contact with you, not responding to your voice or touch, muscle twitches or other unusual movements.
- Your parents’ intuition tells you to worry and seek medical attention even if it’s, “I just know something’s wrong.”