What Every Parent Should Know About Strep Throat In Babies And Toddlers

By  | 
child fever

Image: iStock

Having a sick child is the worst! It’s so incredibly hard to see your little one ill and in pain, and to make matters worse it’s so difficult for them to communicate their discomfort. For this reason, diagnosing a problem can be tricky. One common ailment that you will probably encounter at some point with your children is strep throat.

Strep throat is an infection caused by a bacteria called Group A streptococcus.It can cause sore throats, fevers and swollen glands. StRep throat can be very painful and uncomfortable for those afflicted. It is also very contagious, so children can pass it around quite easily. Strep throat is less common in infants, but can still occur. Toddlers can get step throat easily, and it may be difficult to diagnose. Babies and toddlers might have different symptoms than adults of older children, so it is important to keep on the lookout for signs that indicate a strep throat infection.

Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Step throat is characterized by a sore throat, swollen glands, red and swollen tonsils and patches of red and white in the throat. Other symptoms include fever, headache, stomach pain and nausea, rashes and painful difficulty with swallowing.

If an infant gets strep throat, they might show signs of fever and mucous or discharge coming from the nose. Like most illness in babies, strep throat might also be accompanies by sleepiness, irritability and tummy aches. This goes for toddlers as well. It can be very difficult for a toddler to communicate how he’s feeling, so keep your eyes out for the symptoms of illness and take them to be seen by a doctor if necessary.

There are cases in babies and toddlers where the child will break out into a red rash, along with a fever. This is called scarlet fever, and will go away eventually once the strep infection is treated. If you think your child has strep throat, you should take them to the doctor. The doctor can perform a swab that will test for the bacteria. If necessary, they can send swabs to the lab for a culture.

The bacteria that causes strep throat infects the nose and the throat. When an infected person sneezes or coughs they can spread the infection. Children are at particular risk due to the fact that they are too young to take charge of their own hygiene practices. So if a child sneezes into his hands and then touches another child, there is an easy pathway for the infection to spread.


Treatment for strep throat includes antibiotics and thorough cleaning and hygiene practices. The antibiotics that a doctor prescribes are very effective at treating strep throat, but it is really important to take the full prescribed course. Even if your child is feeling better and not showing symptoms, completing the antibiotic course is helpful to prevent re-occurrences.

While your child has strep throat, their dishes should be kept and cleaned separately from the rest of the family. Children showing signs of infection should not share towels or food or dishes with anyone else in the home to prevent spreading illness.

Children can be taught proper hand-washing techniques and encouraged to do so frequently. They should be prompted to cough and sneeze in a way which prevents spreading (for example, sneezing into a shirtsleeve or tissue rather than their hand).

While your child is feeling unwell, make sure to give them plenty of liquids and lots of rest. Warm liquids can be given to help soothe the throat irritation. Water and other clear fluids should be pushed to prevent dehydration. Over the counter medications can be given for fevers, along with fluids and rest.

Strep throat can be a very uncomfortable condition, however it is treatable.

It is so hard to see your children sick, especially in those younger years. Lucky, strep throat is one of those conditions that is easily treatable. Like many contagious maladies, preventative measures can be used to protect the health of your little ones, as well as everyone else in the home.