Baby health checklist

All babies have times when they are unwell, or off-colour. It is estimated that, on average, babies have around six colds in their first year of life. Add in teething and immunisations, and it's no wonder they sometimes get a little grumpy. But it's important to be vigilant as young babies can get very sick, very quickly and when unwell, they can deteriorate rapidly. Here is a quick checklist of things you should never ignore:

  • If your baby is less than three months old and has a fever higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius.
  • If your baby is older than three months of age and has a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius that lasts for more than 24 hours, or does not respond to paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • If your baby has more than six large bowel motions in a 24-hour period, or has blood in his or her bowel motions.
  • If your baby has been vomiting for more than 12 hours, or has blood in his or her vomit.
  • If your baby has fewer wet nappies than usual - he or she should have at least one wet nappy every six hours.
  • If your baby appears to be having difficulty breathing.
  • If your baby is floppy, lethargic or wants to sleep a lot more than usual and is hard to wake.
  • If your baby takes less than half of his or her normal daily feeds in a 24-hour period.
  • If your baby has discharge from his or her ear, or is grizzling and pulling on their ear.
  • If your baby develops a rash, particularly one that may be a meningococcal rash.
  • If your baby's fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of the head) is sunken - this can indicate dehydration.

Remember that you know your baby best. If you are concerned about any aspect of your baby's health, consult your GP or Well Child provider or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for more advice. If it is an emergency, do not hesistate to call 111 for an ambulance, or take your child to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

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