How To Know If Your Toddler Needs Their Tonsils RemovedWorried your toddler may need to have their tonsils removed? Tonsillitis is a common health problem in children and it occurs anywhere from the toddler through to the teenage years.

While tonsil removal is a very simple and safe procedure, it can still be concerning as a parent, especially when it’s affecting younger children. If you are concerned your toddler may need to have their tonsils removed, below you’ll discover more about the condition and the tell-tale signs to look out for. However, the information below should only be used as a guideline and it’s important to seek advice from a doctor to have the condition correctly diagnosed.

What Is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a common medical condition which occurs when the tonsils become inflamed. The tonsils are oval shaped lymph nodes found hanging down at the back of the throat and they’re used to filter out germs.

If a virus is too strong, the tonsils can swell up, making it difficult to swallow. What you may not realize is that there’s actually several types of tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis is where the condition causes symptoms for 3 months or longer. Recurrent tonsillitis is another type, which can cause a child to have inflamed tonsils many times throughout the course of a year.

Another thing you may not know is that tonsillitis can be contagious. As it’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it can be passed on to others via coughing, touching or sneezing. It’s easy to pick up the condition and is especially easy to spread through daycare centers.

What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

There’s a few tell-tale symptoms of tonsillitis you can look out for. These includes:

  • Painful ears
  • Refusal to eat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Snoring

These are just some of the symptoms to look out for, but the refusal to eat and difficulty swallowing tend to be the most common symptoms experienced. As you know, toddlers can be very fussy eaters, so refusal to eat isn’t always linked to tonsillitis right away. Therefore, it’s important to look out for a combination of symptoms to determine whether tonsillitis could be the culprit.

As the symptoms of tonsillitis can also point to many other types of illnesses, a doctor will need to assess your toddler to determine whether they are suffering with tonsillitis or a different type of illness.

Can It Be Prevented?

Obviously, prevention is better than a cure, but is there a way to prevent your toddler from developing tonsillitis?

As it’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection, the best way to prevent the condition is to limit your child’s exposure to other sick children. This is easier said than done however. Toddler’s are renowned for frequently picking up colds and kindly passing them on to the rest of the household. So, preventing the condition can be pretty tough.

You could try to encourage frequent hand washing and ensuring your toddler knows not to share drinking or eating utensils with other children. Chatting with their daycare providers to ensure they encourage strict hygiene rules is also recommended.

Another thing which can help is building up your toddler’s immune system. This means feeding them a healthy diet and ensuring they get plenty of fresh air.

Keep in mind that even if you follow all of these preventative precautions, it’s still going to be extremely difficult to prevent tonsillitis in toddlers.

How Is Tonsillitis Treated?

The treatment for tonsillitis will depend entirely upon the type of infection which caused the condition, along with its severity. Most tonsillitis cases in toddlers clear up within 3-4 days. However, it’s possible it could last for up to two weeks.

Depending upon the type of infection present, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. It’s important your toddler takes the entire course of antibiotics if prescribed, even if it appears the infection has cleared up before the antibiotics have finished. This is because although the symptoms may have disappeared, the virus itself may still be lurking and may not be completely wiped out.

Besides antibiotics, there’s a few things you can do to help ensure your little one is more comfortable until the tonsillitis has gone. These include:

Keeping Them Home – If your toddler attends daycare, it’s a good idea to keep them home until the tonsillitis has cleared up. Not only will this help to keep them ore comfortable, but it will prevent the condition from spreading to other children too.

Offer Plenty Of Fluids – Offering frequent cold drinks and ice pops can really help to soothe the throat. You can also offer warm drinks too such as warm water with honey and lemon. This is actually an excellent remedy as the lemon really helps reduce mucus, while the honey soothes a sore throat and provides plenty of antioxidants which can help fight off the virus.

However, if your little one is under one year old, it’s important to avoid feeding them honey, but for toddlers it should be absolutely fine. You can check with your doctor if you’re unsure.

Keep The Air Humidified – Adding a humidifier into your toddlers bedroom will help them to sleep better while they’re ill. The extra moisture can really help to lessen irritation in the throat too. It’s important to ensure you change the water within the humidifier each day however as otherwise it could lead to the growth of mold and bacteria.

Treating Severe Cases Of Tonsillitis

In some cases, tonsillitis can be a little more severe. If your toddler does develop either a very severe case of tonsillitis, or it keeps reoccurring, they may need to have their tonsils removed.

Known as a tonsillectomy, it’s a very common and straightforward procedure and your toddler would only usually need to stay in hospital for a few hours afterwards. The entire procedure takes around 35-40 minutes and no cuts are made on the child’s skin.

There’s actually a second type of procedure which the surgeon may prefer to perform, known as a intracapsular tonsillectomy. This procedure is a little different in the fact it does leave behind some of the tissue of the tonsil. The tissue continues to protect the throat’s muscles.

While tonsillectomies were pretty much a go-to solution in the past, these days they aren’t performed as frequently. This is because doctors have started to understand more about the role of tonsils in filtering out harmful bacteria. So, you’ll only be recommended to get your toddler’s tonsils removed if they are causing reoccurring or serious issues.


Overall, tonsillitis is pretty common and it’s usually really simple to treat. However, it’s always advisable to get your little one seen by a doctor both to diagnose the condition and provide the best course of treatment.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.

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  1. This is really a worrying case for both the toddler and the parent, coupled with that it’s contagious is another different set of story. The symptoms of tonsillitis as Painful ears, Refusal to eat, Difficulty in swallowing, Sore throat, Bad breath and Snoring are going to be very discomforting to kids if not treated on time. This is why it’s always advised that parents be very observant with their little ones and to normally go for medical check up once in a while.

    1. Tonsillitis symptoms are really discomforting, especially when the child gets a fever. Tonsillitis is usually accompanied by high fever in most cases. My children get this once in a while because of eating too many sweets at times or do not drink sufficient water. When they suffer from high fever, I often suspect tonsillitis or UTI.

      Their pedia said frequent tonsillitis is not good because the virus could go down to the heart and cause heart problems that is why I am very concerned when they get it.

  2. When my brother and siblings were still little kids, they had tonsils many times and antibiotics were used.

    I am the only one who had tonsils removed while still a toddler because they prevented me from talking.

    1. Wow! This is the first I’ve learned that tonsillitis can prevent a child from talking. It’s a good thing your parents had it removed. I hope things turned out well for you, jessym 🙂

  3. This should be spread immediately to those parents for them to start observing their babies, and here are some symptoms that I can give you. A sore throat is the classic symptom of tonsillitis, but it can be hard to know baby has a sore throat if he can’t yet talk. So if your baby cant produce a single word or just a simple sound maybe its time for your baby to be checked by a doctor so if the baby tonsil should be removed it should be removed immediately so it will doesn’t weave any more.

    1. Yes, kids who can talk often complain of a sore throat or difficulty swallowing. If the pain persists, it is truly best to bring the child to a doctor for a medical check-up. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

  4. Wow! this is the first time that I learned that tonsils can be removed through operation. I’m glad that my children never experience it because I don’t allow them to eat sweets when they were young and I let them take plenty of water to cleanse the mouth as well.

    However, in case my children are suffering from tonsillitis, again and again, I will not let the doctor removed their tonsils. Maybe there are other procedure or way how to avoid it. I’m afraid that they will undergo operations at a young age especially if there are still toddler which is they cannot tell their discomforts or complain.

    For me so far this is a good blog. I learn new things today about toddlers tonsils.

    1. You’re right about the discomfort an operation could bring to a child. And yes, removing tonsillitis is not necessary. And as you’ve said, your kids have not suffered from it so there’s no need.

      In the case of @jessym, though, his/her tonsils were removed because it prevented him/her from talking so in that case, it was necessary.

  5. It is important that we understand the symptoms of tonsillitis which can include sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. However, I’m glad that you gave some tips on how we could be able to put the illness under control in kids and the way we could handle such situations if it persists which is to visit the doctor.

    1. Yes, there are ways to prevent it. Frequent handwashing is one way of preventing it because tonsillitis is contagious. Talk to the child as well to not share drinking or eating utensils with other kids so he/she will not catch the virus. In case the child gets the virus, it’s always best to consult the doctor as the child may need antibiotics.

  6. Removing toddlers tonsil is so alarming. Here are some ways of how you can check if your baby’s tonsil is healthy or not. To check your child’s tonsils, gently place the handle of a spoon, if possible, on his or her tongue and ask the child to say “aaahhh” while you shine a light on the back of the throat. If the tonsils look bright red and swollen, see your pediatrician. But still you should prevent the toddler of needing to remove the tonsil. Always remember that Safety/preventing is always better than cure.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion on checking the tonsils. I also do that at times when my kids complain of a sore throat and have fever. Still, it’s always best to consult a doctor because they are the experts and can tell if it’s really tonsillitis or a mere sore throat 🙂

  7. This is very true when you say prevention is better than cure. While my baby is growing, I will see to it that this will not happen to her. I know this is not to worry about but as a mother, even the smallest thing like insect bites that will happen to your baby will really worry you so much.

    1. That is true, French. We worry a lot about child’s health. We should never take anything for granted when it comes to our child’s health. As I always say, I’m better paranoid than feel safe and be sorry.

  8. I have 1 year old son and we consider tonsillitis, although minor, as something not to be taken for granted. Thank you for this article for atleast we know that when our son gets this illness we don’t have to worry about anything as long we are seeing his doctor. Words can’t say how bad we feel when our baby is sick and as parents, we’ll do whatever it takes to get everything taken care of for our baby. This is really a heads up for me and my wife. I really do appreciate this blog.

    1. I totally agree with you, joey. We hate it when our child gets sick and if we could only get his/her sickness and have ourselves suffer instead, we would do it.

      Tonsillitis is probably one of the illnesses I hate because it makes kids suffer from very high fever and pain seems to be everywhere in their bodies. All we can do is do our best to prevent it, and in case they get it, we care for them the best we can 🙂

  9. Currently, I am suffering from Tonsillitis. As far as I can remember, I had Tonsillitis a couple of times. However, I never knew about tonsil removal or it is a contagious condition.
    If I have tonsil, it means it can pass to the baby. I must be careful about going near the bay until my condition is cured.

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