5 Toddler Transmitted Diseases to Look Out For

And what to do if your toddler gets them.

We’ve partnered with SoCozy on this post to help lessen the spread of TTDs.

You know the feeling. You wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of uncharacteristically loud crying coming from your child’s room. You get up to inspect further, but as you do, yesterday’s email from school flashes across your eyelids like ticker tape — the one that warned you that “A child in your son or daughter’s class has been diagnosed with [insert highly contagious disease that harkens back to the time of the plague].”

Suddenly it dawns on you that this might be it: the moment when you find out that your child  has been infected by a TTD – or, for the uninitiated – a Toddler Transmitted Disease. Think lice,  pinkeye, or that disgusting stomach bug that brings on projectile vomiting and diarrhea at the SAME TIME. You know, the kinds of things your friend’s kids have had that have prompted you to pass judgment about her handwashing practices. BUT NOW IT’S HAPPENED TO YOU.

Here are the top 5 TTD’s that you basically can’t escape and what to do about them.


What it is: Head lice are tiny wingless insects (the size of sesame seeds) that live in human hair and feed on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Yes. This is real life. Wheeeee!!!!

How you know your kid has it: Your child is itching her head a lot, especially around the back of the head or ears, or has scabs on her scalp.

What to do about it: Allow yourself some involuntarily shuddering and a moment to wrap your own hair in a large scarf. The best way to deal with lice is to scare those suckers away before they can even become a problem by using a product like SoCozy Boo! Lice Prevention. Don’t shampoo too often (natural oils — aka dirt — help prevent lice) and when you do, use SoCozy Boo! Lice Scaring Shampoo, which contains a blend of natural ingredients. If your child does get lice, don’t despair. With the patience of Mother Theresa, remove each nit and lice manually using a special lice comb. Consult your pediatrician if other treatments or prescriptions are necessary. Also, drink a lot of wine when it is all over, but not during, or you may not be able to see the lice so clearly.


What it is: Also known as conjunctivitis, it is inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. It also makes your formerly cute kid look pretty terrifying. Don’t leave the house.

How you know your kid has it: It usually begins with your kid not being able to open his eye in the morning because it is glued shut or oozing. Fun start to the day! Or, it looks swollen and pink. Another clue: You also have it. Twinsies!

What to do about it: If it is viral pinkeye, the best you can do is to help your child be more comfortable. A compress could help, but make sure that he keeps it on the infected eye ONLY lest he spread the infection the other eye and make your life that much more of a holy hell. If it is bacterial, the pediatrician might prescribe drops. (Tip: Enlist reinforcements to help you hold your child down and prep “treats” for post-dropping.) Encourage lots of hand washing and do not let your child touch his eye! Also: Clorox the hell out of every surface in your house.


What it is: Fun to say but not to have! Coxsackievirus is part of a family of viruses that live in the digestive tract. It can spread via unwashed hands and surfaces contaminated by feces (ew!) and can cause mild flu-like symptoms or can lead to more serious infections. Its other equally fun to say but not to have “street” name is “Hand, foot, and mouth disease.”

How you know your kid has it: Half of those afflicted develop a weekend-ruining high fever, headache, and muscle aches, as well as a possible sore throat, abdominal discomfort or nausea. Unless, that is, your dream weekend includes waiting hand and foot (haha!) on your 3-year-old while he binge watches Team Umizoomi.
What to do about it: Run for the hills! Start a new family! Kidding. No treatment necessary. It usually runs its course in 2 to 3 days. Phew!


What it is: Stop dry heaving — no actual worms are involved in ringworm. It’s just the medical name for a group of related skin infections (see also jock itch and athlete’s foot). Sure, it can be itchy and less than pleasant, but luckily ringworm is not dangerous or painful.

How you know your kid has it: Ringworm starts as red, scaly patches or bumps and over time may begin to look like a ring or a series of rings with raised, bumpy, scaly borders (hence its name). It can also affect the toes, scalp or nails, with varying degrees of disgustingness.

What to do about it: This is really gnarly. High tail it to the pediatrician if you see any of this shit happening. She will likely recommend a topical antifungal medication if it is ringworm of the skin, and an oral one of the scalp or nails.


What it is: Typically, your kid will catch this from you on a bad day — specifically at the exact moment when you’re not yet caffeinated and your kid is acting like a shit and you realize that you just dropped the F bomb and her preschool director is standing right behind you in line at Starbucks.

How you know your kid has it: You thought it would be cute to record your kid saying a bad word on Snapchat. Psychologists would call this Positive Reinforcement. Now she is greeting everyone from the UPS man to the security guard at the bank with her new favorite word. Woot woot social media!

What to do about it: Slap a huge grin on your face and wear a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “I’M SORRY”, then simply say, “Kids. They say the most fucked up things. I don’t know where the hell she gets it from!”

Original illustration by Liz Martone of EFM Studio for Well Rounded NY.

Shop SoCozy’s boo! line here:

boo! lice conditioner

SoCozy boo! Lice Scaring Conditioner, $14.50. Buy it here.

boo! lice scaring Shampoo

SoCozy boo! Lice Scaring Shampoo, $14.50. Buy it here.

boo! lice scaring spray

SoCozy boo! Lice Scaring Spray, $14.50. Buy it here.

boo! lice scaring to-go

SoCozy boo! Lice Scaring To-Go Leave-In Spray, $7.99. Buy it here.



Alexis Barad-Cutler

Alexis Barad-Cutler

ALEXIS BARAD-CUTLER is an Associate Editor and a frequent contributor to Well Rounded. Alexis Barad-Cutler is an Associate Editor for Well Rounded, and the founder of Not Safe For Mom Group (NSFMG), a space for women to express raw feelings without judgement. She also creates content for sites like Mindr, Fatherly, Hey Mama, and Beyond Mom -- among other places that cater to the parenting set. Find out more at alexisbaradcutler.com and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Comments {3}

  1. Hahaha, this was great…and terrifying. My little one is being treated for pottymouth now

    Allaya P. Cooks-Campbell
  2. My Toddler grandson gets his pottymouth from Nana!! Oh Damn!!! That is his fav word right now!! Hard to get him to stop saying the damn word when it is Nana’s fav word also, when something happens. And as I am his main caregiver and he lives with us, I can only hope that by the time he turns 3 he will stop saying the damn word!!! lol

    Janette O
  3. Love that you are providing some health information along with some humor, but as a school nurse I’m cringing at the graphic at the top! Lice don’t fly or jump as your picture shows! It would have been nice if you included more information about prevention that wasn’t directly tied to a product ad. Direct head to head contact is the #1 way lice is spread and frequent head checks are the best way to prevent an infestation…neither of which are mentioned.

    Jessica Jones

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