Common Causes of Lethargy in Toddlers
Parents just know when something is off with their child. That doesn’t always mean they know the source of the problem. If your child is exhibiting signs of lethargy, it is important to immediately consider possible causes. Lethargy in toddlers can be a symptom of a serious medical condition, and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Causes of lethargy in toddlers may vary, and it is important to understand that true lethargy is more serious than a child simply being tuckered out from a full day at the park or too many errands. Below, find a quick guide to potential causes and what action you may need to take.
You may be used to your child occasionally getting cranky, fussy, or even nodding off at the dinner table when they’re very tired. Lethargy is different. A child who is lethargic may move much more slowly than they normally do. They may show little interest in food or toys they normally get excited about. In extreme cases, they may even appear to have trouble remaining conscious.
Common Causes of Lethargy
Common causes may include but are not limited to: Head injuries, sleep deprivation, cognitive impairment, fever, or immune system deficiencies.
The most important thing for parents to remember when confronted with lethargy in their toddler is to stay calm. That can be easier said than done when dealing with a high fever, a serious head injury or an unknown medical issue, but it is imperative. You cannot properly assess your child’s situation if you don’t remember to take a few deep breaths and clear your mind for the task at hand.
What To Do Next
If your child appears lethargic for no easily discernible reason, start with taking their temperature with a thermometer to rule out fever.
If no fever is discovered, consider if they could have had a fall or other episode resulting in a head injury any time in the past day or two. Keep in mind, not all head injuries result in immediate symptoms. It is possible that a bump or fall yesterday could begin to manifest symptoms such as lethargy or confusion today.
Most moms know the basic dilated pupil test to check for a concussion: Simply cover your child’s eyes or bring them to a darkened room for a few moments, and then expose their eyes to a bright light. Both pupils should contract immediately and equally. Pupils that do not react or react unevenly may be a sign of a problem requiring medical attention.
Besides lethargy and pupil reaction, concussions may present other symptoms such as confusion, slurred speech, or vomiting. Always seek help when a head injury or any other serious medical condition is suspected.
When Tired Really Is Just Tired
Sometimes as parents, we jump to the worst case scenario first. For example, when your little one disappears from under your nose and doesn’t answer when you call, you may rightly think in terms of the highest danger zones first. You check the street, the pool, and the garage, before going back in to methodically peek in every closet and under every bed until you finally get that delighted “I hid from you!” shriek and know everything is okay.
The same is true here. What you’re labeling “lethargic” may indeed just be a sleepy toddler who skipped her nap at daycare and ran around too much during outside time. But you know your child best; if something doesn’t feel right, don’t second-guess yourself. Seek a doctor’s opinion and put your mind at ease.
How to Reduce a Fever Naturally in your toddler: