How to identify if your child is in pain and suffering from a serious condition (For children between 1-3 Years)

By: - 27th August 2019
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Even though as adults we can recognize pain as a symptom of something that we need to pay attention to, children do not quite understand this. In the past, not much consideration was given for children’s pains however these days medical science has evolved to a greater level where a child’s pain is treated separately or given priority when treating a condition.

Even though as adults we can recognize pain as a symptom of something that we need to pay attention to, children do not quite understand this. In the past, not much consideration was given for children’s pains however these days medical science has evolved to a greater level where a child’s pain is treated separately or given priority when treating a condition.

The most common and main symptom that a child exhibits when in pain is crying. A child can cry with or without tearing. However, if the child is in extreme pain, then there will be tearing. In addition to crying, there are other symptoms that we can pick up on to identify whether they are suffering from pain.


Body movement symptoms

  • Limited physical activity or complete inactivity.
  • Unusual posture or changes in expressions.
  • Noticeable physical restraint such as tightening of muscles, struggling, kicking or hitting with the hand

Facial expression-based symptoms

  • Tearing.
  • Facial expressions such as grimacing, wrinkling of the eyebrows, forehead and skin, angling of the mouth and lips, grinding of teeth and biting the tongue.


Audible symptoms

  • Screaming or shouting loudly.
  • Sighing.
  • Whining.
  • Unusual sounds or changes in tone.
  • Inability to talk cohesively using normal vocabulary.

Emotion-based symptoms

  • Display of anger.
  • Sadness.

Physical symptoms

  • Increased pulse.
  • Increased breathing speed.
  • Sweating.
  • Fainting.

Faces Pains Scale:

This is a special scale for parents of children between the ages of 1-3 years. Children of this age tend to mostly express pain through changes in their facial expressions. Which is why it is essential for parents to quickly gauge the level of the pain their children are feeling. You can do this by following the Faces Pain Scale, which can help you determine the intensity of pain intuitively.

As a parent, you need to be able to make decisions based on your child’s facial expressions which will vary from a happy face to a crying face. Use the tips given in this article to evaluate the need for immediate, urgent treatment so that your child can get the best of modern medical treatments

An Article prepared by Krishanthi Ganga Kumarihami, a Midwifery Nurse (Grade One) of the Premature Infant Intensive Care Unit of the Kurunegala General Hospital.

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