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Seeking medical help for babies

Babies can’t tell you when they aren’t well – and that’s what can be worrying.

It’s up to you to decide whether your baby is feeling poorly, and how seriously to take it. Sometimes, you will worry when there’s nothing much to worry about, but that’s part of being a parent! You will find you become more confident as your baby gets older. Toddlers can at least tell you or show you where it hurts.

Most babies and young children will have occasional difficult days, when they cry or moan, and seem restless and unsettled. Actually, the fact that your child is crying, is reassuring in a way – children who are very ill are sleepy and floppy. 

Speak to your doctor if your child:

  • Is floppy or listless, or sleeps for a very long time.

  • Has continuous vomiting which lasts more than an hour.

  • Has diarrhoea, which doesn’t clear up in 24 hours.

  • Has a rash which you can’t explain.

  • Has dry nappies.

  • Passes stools which are an unusual colour or texture

  • Seems feverish or uncomfortably hot.

  • Has unexplained bruising or bleeding from the ears, mouth, nose, anus or in their stools or urine.

Seek immediate medical help if your child:

  • Has a convulsion – this doesn’t just mean jerky movements; look for rolling eyes and no response when you talk to or look at them.

  • Finds it hard to breathe.

  • Becomes unconscious.

  • Shows blue around or on the lips or the face.

  • Has symptoms of suspected meningitis.

  • Passes blood or red currant jelly-like stools.

  • Seems in obvious pain.