Symptoms of strep throat in toddlers

Updated August 08, 2017

It is common for toddlers to get strep throat and, once they do, identifying the temporary illness is not difficult. While your toddler may be uncomfortable and fussy, keep in mind that strep throat is short-lived and easy to cure. As soon as you notice the symptoms of strep throat in your toddler, meet with your doctor for the proper antibiotics.


The first sign of a sick toddler, no matter what your child is sick with, is a fussy attitude and general uncomfortableness. All signs point to a sore throat if your child refuses to eat, doesn't eat much or is constantly putting her hands or fingers near her throat.

Red, swollen tonsils

If you suspect something is wrong with your toddler's throat based on the information above, then check your child's throat and tonsils. Strep throat can sometimes be difficult to identify if you aren't medically trained. However, one of the best ways to tell if your toddler has strep throat is if she has red, swollen tonsils/throat with white spots. The white spots are built-up bacteria called Streptococcus, which is from where the name strep throat is derived.


Take your toddler's temperature to see if he is running a fever. Fevers occur when the body is working hard to fight off an infection. If your toddler has a fever, then chances are he has an infection somewhere. A fever paired with red and swollen tonsils with white spots is almost always strep throat. Keep in mind that it's possible for your child to have a mild case of strep throat and not run a fever.

Other symptoms

In addition to a red/swollen throat with white spots and a fever, your toddler may experience additional symptoms of strep throat. Those include an upset stomach, diarrhoea, vomiting, irritability, lethargy, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms are not guaranteed to occur, but are common symptoms of strep throat in toddlers.

Take your toddler to the doctor

If your toddler has any symptoms of strep throat, you should take her to the doctor immediately in order to treat it. Strep throat can lead to other illnesses if not treated right away, such as rheumatic fever, liver and kidney damage, joint pain and heart valve problems.

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About the Author

Wendy Rose Gould is a professional journalist who has contributed to "Glamour" magazine and the Huffington Post, among other publications. After internships at the "Indianapolis Business Journal," "Kiwanis International" and "NUVO Newsweekly," she earned BA degrees in journalism and philosophy from Franklin College in 2008. Gould specializes in lifestyle topics.