Ear infection symptoms in toddlers include fever above 102 F, ear tugging, fussiness, difficulty sleeping and loss of appetite, according to pediatric otolaryngologist Max M. April, M.D. Vomiting, diarrhea, diminished hearing and drainage from the ear are other possible signs of an ear infection.
Dr. April notes that toddlers are often nonverbal, so they cannot tell parents that their ears hurt. While ear tugging is not necessarily a reliable sign of ear pain, fever and unusual clinginess or irritability are clues that an ear infection may be present. Ear drainage and reduced hearing are definite red flags.
Pediatrician Jennifer Shu, M.D., F.A.A.P. explains that children under the age of 3 are most susceptible to ear infections because their immune systems are still developing and their Eustachian tubes are positioned more horizontally. This allows fluid to accumulate there rather than draining.