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What Causes Red Ears in Children?

author image Jesse Barthel
Jesse Barthel has been writing professionally since 2008 with expertise on the topics of Autism-related treatments, green culture and alternative medicine. She is currently attending Daytona State College in Palm Coast, Fla., working toward an Associate of Applied Science in marine biology.
What Causes Red Ears in Children?
Red ears can be sign of infection.

Inflammation is a symptom of distress or infection in children. Inflammation occurs when the tissues in your body become inflamed while trying to fight off infections or foreign substances. When your child appears to have red ears it could mean her body is attempting to get rid of a virus or bacteria. However, there are other causes of red ears in childhood.

Ear Infection

The most common reason for your child's ears to become red is an ear infection. Kids can develop an ear infection for many reasons including upper respiratory conditions, exposure to cigarette smoke and reclining while drinking. The outer ear can become inflamed and red because your child's body is trying to fight the infection. Symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, reddened ears, trouble chewing or swallowing and difficulty sleeping.


Ears can appear to be red when your child has a fever. A fever is the inflammatory response throughout the entire body while white blood cells attack an infection. Other causes for fever include immunizations, dressing too warmly and even teething. According to the Kid's Health Clinic at Nemours, a fever is not the cause of an illness, but a symptom of an underlying health issue. If you're child has a fever higher than 102 degrees F, you should call your child's pediatrician.

Excessive Heat

Overexposure to heat can cause your child's ears to appear red. Dressing your child too warmly for the weather or heavy exercise may heat up her body too quickly. This condition typically isn't serious unless your child has been exposed to extreme temperatures for extended period. If you believe your child's reddened ears are due to heat, you can help quickly cool her by offering a cold drink of water and removing any unnecessary clothing.

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