Ear infections are fairly common problems for children. In fact, 3 out of 4 children will experience at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Ear infections can be quite a nuisance, as they can impact your child’s hearing.

When it comes to small children, it is sometimes difficult to tell that they have an ear infection because they’re often too young to communicate pain and discomfort.

While most ear infections subside on their own, usually within 2-3 days, children who have frequent infections may need surgery.

At Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care, your child’s health is our greatest priority. That’s why Dr. Ravneet Dhaliwal and her team have compiled this helpful list of signs that could indicate your child has an ear infection.

Tugging at ears

Your child may tug at their ears for a variety of reasons. So, you’ll want to take their usual behavior into consideration. But generally, when children have an ear infection, you may find them tugging at their ears in an effort to ease the pain and discomfort caused by an infection.

Losing balance

Our inner ears are actually responsible for helping us maintain balance. When pressure or fluid from an infection builds up in your child’s ear, they can become dizzy, unsteady, or clumsy.


A fever is normally the first sign of an infection. You’ll want to seek medical attention if your child has a fever of 100 degrees fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher. This is particularly important if your child is younger, as untreated fevers can lead to serious illness.

Ear drainage

If your child has fluid or pus draining from their ear, it’s a clear sign of an infection. You may notice that your child has fluid in the form of puss, ear wax, or even blood draining from their ear. The fluid is also a sign of a ruptured eardrum, usually a symptom of an ear infection.

Stomach problems

If your child has an ear infection, they may be presenting with signs of illness, like vomiting and diarrhea. Because the virus that causes ear infections can also cause gastrointestinal upset, your child may have problems with their appetite or an upset stomach.

Though your child may not be able to communicate to you that their ears hurt, they may present with the above symptoms, which usually lead to discomfort and other indications that they aren’t feeling well. Your child may have trouble sleeping, may cry more, and may just be more irritable than usual.

If you suspect that your child may have an ear infection, you should make an appointment with us. Call us or visit our website for more information.