5 Serious Causes of Lethargy in Toddlers


Sleep problems, chronic illness, anemia, acute illnesses, head injury are some of the serious causes of lethargy in toddlers.

You may see your child complaining about hundred times a day of how tired he/she is. Most of the times, there is nothing serious and the reasons are pretty simple. Your child may be complaining because he/she may have had a tiring day or may be because they had a long outdoor game session. There can be a number of reasons like this and there is generally nothing to worry about this. But if you notice your child always complaining about the same thing, then that is something that one should worry about. In this article, we will look at some of the serious causes of lethargy in toddlers:

5 Important Causes of Lethargy in Toddlers


Sleep problems

Now this is something very obvious! If your child lacks adequate sleep, he/she will get tired just like anyone of us. There are a number of reasons why that may be happening. Some of these reasons are as listed below:

  • Children need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night and staying up for late for any reason can really mess it up.
  • Waking up numerous times during the night because of a sleep disorder or because they are a light sleeper.
  • Sleep apnea that happen during sleep. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids are the most common causes for this. However, these are not the only two causes and there are other causes as well.

Chronic illness

Poor control of chronic illnesses is another leading cause of fatigue. Though, it also depends on the illness they are suffering from. For instance, children suffering from asthma can feel frequent shortness of breath, which can make them feel tired. Also, if we take it the other way, feeling tired can be the first sign that something is wrong, for some illnesses.


Most of the people consider anemia as a possible cause of a child’s tiredness. In this condition, there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the tissues and tiredness can thus be one of the symptoms of anemia. But it is very rare and this is usually not the cause of fatigue in children.


Acute illnesses

A number of diseases can cause a child to be tired. For instance, upper respiratory infections including colds, or ear, throat or sinus infections can make your little one tired. However, the fatigue will go away once the infection clears. It is just your body that may be in requirement of adequate rest in order to heal.

Head injury

One of the most common reasons why your child may be lethargic is a head injury. You should keep an eye on your child if he/she has recently fallen down and then consequently developed the lethargy symptoms in the few minutes afterwards. You must contact the doctor immediately after such an incident happens so that you know what you need to do. If your child had a serious injury, head to the emergency room as soon as possible.

What should one do if they have a lethargic child?

Now if it has been more than a week or two and you have been listening to your child complaining of feeling tired, it is important that you take it into consideration. You should make an appointment with your doctor.

  • A thorough physical examination can be conducted of your child., including the weight and growth of your child and also to look for any physical abnormalities in your child.
  • The doctor may also advise you if there is a need for you to take your child to a psychologist or other mental health professional.
  • The doctor can assess the history of the fatigue including the symptoms. He/she may also ask your child about his life like the sleep habits and other things that may be leading to stress or anxiety.
  • Conduct any tests that may be needed for instance, urine test, blood test, X-rays or MRIs. The tests would depend on your child’s physical examination and symptoms.


If your child goes through this situation and is grown up, you should talk to him/her about any social, emotional or learning problems that he/she may be going through. In case of toddlers, You must also look for other symptoms of illness, asthma or allergies. Also, make sure that your little one eats a well balanced and healthy diet and with snacks between meals. More importantly, you should check if restlessness, snoring or other sleep disturbances may be interfering with healthy sleep.

If you have tried changing his sleeping habits and diet and it showed no improvement, it is vital for you to consult a health care provider so as to find out the cause and cure of your child’s situation.





Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!