Baby and Toddler Sickness: Ear Infections

Infant baby with ear to camera

What causes an ear infection, the symptoms of it, and treatment options.

Ear infections are a common occurrence in young children, often causing fever and pain. They tend to develop from a virus or bacteria during or just after a cold or other respiratory infection has occurred.

Sometimes the only sign of an ear infection in a young child is a fever, but your child may also:

  • Cry
  • Be upset, irritable or distressed
  • Have disrupted sleep or be harder to settle to sleep
  • Vomit
  • Have low energy
  • Have a decreased appetite
  • Become more ‘clingy’ or ‘grizzly’ than usual

If you think your child has an ear infection, it’s best to take them to your GP to get checked. Your doctor may wait to see if the infection clears on its own or may prescribe antibiotics if they think they are needed – it’s important to maintain pain relief as advised by your doctor. Your child will need plenty of rest and cuddles while they are unwell, they may want to breastfeed more or less, depending on whether they are in pain or not. If your baby or toddler has a fever, you should keep them home from childcare until they are better.

For more advice on keeping kids healthy, visit