When Your Toddler is Sick
Your toddler can get sick very quickly. Your toddler may be playing happily one minute and then, unexpectedly, start feeling sick. You may have already learned your toddler’s early signs of getting sick. You might notice glassy eyes, more crying or clinging, or pale skin. Be alert to these behaviours and watch your toddler more closely when you see them.
British Columbia has a number of health resources that can help you when your toddler gets sick:
The BC HealthGuide provides helpful information you can trust on many medical concerns. To use the guide, look in the index to find your toddler’s symptoms. Follow the instructions about home treatment and when to seek help from a health professional. You can get this guide at no charge from your pharmacy.
When you need information right away, you can call HealthLink BC at 8‑1‑1. The registered nurses will give you 24‑hour confidential information and advice. You can also speak to a pharmacist about medication concerns. The pharmacist is available from 5 p.m. to
9 a.m. every day.
Anywhere in B.C. 8‑1‑1
Deaf and hearing‑impaired 7‑1‑1
Translation services are offered in over 130 languages.
Public Health Offices
You have a local public health office near you. It provides many supports for you and your toddler. Typical programs and resources include:
- Child immunization programs
- Programs and services for parents of infants and preschoolers
- Assessment and screening of child development and progress
- Education and support for families of children with asthma, allergies, and eczema
- Resources on pregnancy and parenting (pamphlets, brochures, books, videos, and more)
- Telephone contact with all new mothers and follow‑up home visits
- Breastfeeding support
- Postpartum depression screening
- Support for women during postpartum adjustment or those who are experiencing postpartum depression
- Education and support for parenting concerns (safety, healthy lifestyle choices, parent support services, and more)
For contact information, click here.
Other Health‑Care Professionals
If you have any doubts about your toddler’s health or development, talk to any of the following health professionals:
- Family doctor
Helping Your Toddler with Health‑Care Visits
Here are some tips to help prepare your toddler for health‑care visits:
- Talk about what is happening. Explain where you are going and why. Use simple language: “The nurse is going to give you an immunization in the arm. It will sting for a minute, but I’ll hold you on my lap the whole time.”
- Answer your toddler’s questions simply and directly.
- Book health‑care appointments during times when your toddler is well rested and not hungry.
- Model what a health caregiver might do, such as listening to your toddler’s chest or looking in his or her ears.
- Encourage your toddler to play “doctor” or “dentist” with a toy.
- Bring along items that will make your toddler more comfortable (a favourite blanket, toy).
- Read children’s books about visits to a doctor, dentist, optometrist, or nurse.
- Praise your toddler’s behaviour and efforts to co‑operate (even if he or she cried the whole time). “You held so still when the doctor looked in your ears!”