Crying is a normal part of your
child's life. Stay as calm as possible during crying episodes. There are many
different ways to approach your child's crying, and over time you will
understand your child's needs and know how to care for him or her.
It may be helpful to keep a record of your child's crying to see whether
there is a pattern that you can discuss with your child's doctor.
Checklist of common reasons a child cries
checklist to help you figure out the reason for your child's crying and take
action to eliminate the cause of the crying. Remember that the crying may be
normal for your child. Ask yourself whether your child:
- Is hungry. Does he or she need to be
burped? Does he or she need to suck (on a finger,
pacifier, bottle, or breast)?
- Needs a diaper
- Needs to be moved to a more comfortable
- Is afraid, bored, or lonely.
- Is too warm
(feels warm) or too cold. Young children usually have cool hands and feet. When
they are cold, their hands and feet will be colder than usual. If you think
your child may be cold, check the arms, thighs, or back of the neck for skin
cool to the touch.
- Is hurting from something pinching or poking the
- Is overstimulated. Crying can be a young child's way of
releasing tension when there is too much noise, movement, or activity in his or
her environment or when he or she is overtired.
- Is uncomfortable
from teething. Young children who are teething can be fretful and cry more than
usual because their gums are swollen and sore. Children who are teething drool
more than usual and may try to rub their gums with toys or
- Had a recent immunization. If you think your child is
uncomfortable from a recent immunization,
ibuprofen may help.
Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20.
Illness or injury that may cause a child to cry
children may turn red or purple in the face when crying. A sick child may have
pale, blue, or spots of bluish (mottled) skin and may be listless, unusually
sleepy, or irritable. A sick child's cry may be weak and feeble or (in rare cases)
high-pitched and piercing. If you think your child may be sick or hurt:
- Check for a
fever. For information on how to take a temperature,
see the topic
- Look for other signs of
illness, such as crying during feeding, vomiting, or
- Check for
other signs of pain.
- Does your child have
colic? You may want to limit visitors and activity
during those times when he or she is most fussy.
- Is something
causing your child pain, such as an open pin sticking the skin, a red spot that
may be an insect bite, or a strand of hair wrapped around a finger, a toe, or
- Does your child have pain in the groin area? Check his
groin area and scrotum or her groin area for a bulge that may be an
- Does your young boy have
scrotal swelling or tenderness (testicular torsion)? Testicular torsion
can cause severe pain.
- Has your child fallen or been dropped?
Undress your child and look for swelling, bruises, or bleeding.