How to Make a Sick Toddler Feel Better While Sleeping: 3 Steps
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Don't let your toddler stay up because of her discomfort; it will only make her more irritable.

Caring for your sick toddler is hard enough, and her bedtime is the light at the end of the very long tunnel. Now, thanks to her illness, your cranky angel can't fall asleep and no amount of stories or back rubs is working. Before you lose your patience -- or accidentally overdose her on kiddie pain reliever -- try to address the source of her discomfort based on her most bothersome symptoms.


  1. 1
    Prop a pillow under your toddler's head to help her breathe if she's congested. Putting her head and upper body at a somewhat upright, slanted angle won't completely relieve her congestion, but this makes it easier for the mucus to drain and prevents it from blocking her airway and nasal passage. Choose a firm pillow that she's unlikely to roll off in the night, and give her some time to get used to it, if she doesn't normally sleep with a pillow.
  2. 2
    Dress your tot in some lightweight pajamas and direct a cool fan at her bed, if she's running a fever. According to, mild fevers, up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, actually serve an important purpose in killing viruses and infections, meaning you shouldn't necessarily use fever-reducing medicine every time her temperature spikes. Instead, make her comfortable by replacing any heavy blankets with a light sheet and trading her fleece sleepers for comfortable shorts and a tank top. Don't worry, contrary to what your grandmother says, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that less clothing actually lowers the core temperature of a feverish toddler, which ultimately makes her more comfortable.
  3. 3
    Run a humidifier in your toddler's bedroom. Particularly in a dry or winter climate, adding moisture to the air helps loosen a stubborn cough and relieve nasal congestion, making it easier for her to breathe comfortably. According to, the humidifier should release cool, room-temperature mist, not hot vapors or steam, which can seriously burn the limbs of a curious toddler.


  • Make your toddler comfortable before bedtime with a lukewarm bath, if she's feverish, or a hot shower if she's congested.Make sure your little one is well-hydrated before going to sleep by having her drink 8 ounces of Pedialyte (an electrolyte solutions) before she brushes her teeth. Extra fluids make it easier to fight infection and reduce congestion. To avoid a wet bed on top of everything else, relax the toilet-training regimen for a night or two until she's feeling better.


  • See your pediatrician immediately if your toddler's fever is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 48 hours, she appears lethargic, has a history of seizures or cancer, or develops a stiff neck and rash with the fever.

Things You'll Need

  • Pillow
  • Lightweight pajamas
  • Fan
  • Humidifier

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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