When a child is in pain, his or her parents usually know
it. But pain can be hard for a child to describe. An older child may be
able to describe the pain as sharp or cramping or tell whether the pain comes
and goes (intermittent). A child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years may
complain of pain or tell you he or she is not feeling well. But the signs of
pain in a very young child can sometimes be hard to recognize. Watch for
changes in how your child acts.
The signs listed below may help
you decide whether your child's pain is mild, moderate, or severe. A child with
severe pain will have more of these behaviors, the behaviors will be more
constant, and you will be less able to comfort the child. Look for:
Changes in usual behavior. Your child may eat
less or become fussy or restless.
Crying, grunting, or
Crying that can't be comforted.
expressions, such as a furrowed brow, a wrinkled forehead, closed eyes, or an
Sleep changes, such as waking often or sleeping
more or less than usual. Even children in severe pain may take short naps
because they are so tired.
Body movements, such as making fists,
guarding a part of the body (especially while walking), kicking, clinging to
whoever holds him or her, or not moving.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.