When should I take my toddler to the doctor? Health & Development

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Toddler boy getting a check up by a pediatrician.
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There are some set ages when your healthy child should see the pediatrician for a checkup. When she'll need to visit a doctor for illness isn't quite as straightforward. See what an expert recommends and what other moms do when their kids are not feeling well.

Monitor Them for a Fever

"After their one-year well-child visit, there should be visits at 15, 18, 24, and 30 months. Starting at age 3, visits are yearly. These visits are important because there are specific growth and development parameters along with specific screenings for autism. As often as children are seen for well visits, they still get sick with viruses during their toddler years. If they have a fever with a skin rash, or fever with ear pain, you should call your pediatrician. A low fever (less than 102)...

"After their one-year well-child visit, there should be visits at 15, 18, 24, and 30 months. Starting at age 3, visits are yearly. These visits are important because there are specific growth and development parameters along with specific screenings for autism. As often as children are seen for well visits, they still get sick with viruses during their toddler years. If they have a fever with a skin rash, or fever with ear pain, you should call your pediatrician. A low fever (less than 102) for a day or two with cold symptoms probably doesn't need to be seen unless there are issues with dehydration or problems with breathing.  Viral gastrointestinal illnesses are particularly notorious for dehydration in young children, so make sure to call your doctor if your toddler can't drink enough fluids." -- Jarret Patton, MD, founder of DoctorJarret PLLC, Reading, PA

Go When in Doubt

"We don't go every time my son is sick. But we will go when the symptoms are really bad or when in doubt. We do some research online, and I will call a nurse hotline to ask if I am unsure of what his symptoms may mean."

Severe Fatigue Is a Sign

"If my son is lethargic, we go to the doctor. But for a simple cold, without fever and he's eating and drinking, I don't think there's need for a doctor. I don't hesitate to call, though, if I have any questions."

If They're Not Getting Better

"I only take my kids to see the doctor if I've tried everything the nurse recommends and they aren't getting better or the symptoms are getting worse. I also request an appointment if my kids are showing symptoms of things like strep throat, ear infections, or lung infections. I let colds and minor fevers run their course."

When It's Out of the Ordinary

"If it's an earache (which may require antibiotics), a high fever for more than a day, or something out of the ordinary, I'll take him to the doctors."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.