Know the basics

Being prepared and knowing the signs

Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong with their baby from quite early on. It is normal to worry that you may not recognise the signs that your baby is unwell. Trust your instincts, you know your baby best.

Learn how to spot the signs of serious illness and how to cope if an accident happens. If you know the basics and you are well prepared, you will find it easier to cope - and less scary. Keep a small supply of useful medicines in a locked cabinet or somewhere up high where a child cannot reach them. There is a useful list in the box on the right, of things to have at home just in case. Make sure you’ve got the right strength of medicine for the age of your child, always follow instructions carefully and check use by dates. Read the label carefully and use sugar-free options where you can.

If your baby seems to have a serious illness it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Take a look at the Birth to Five book from the Department of Health www.dh.gov.uk

Pharmacist says

Keep a small supply of useful medicines. Include things like:

Types of thermometer

A normal temperature is between 36-36.8°C (96.8-98.24°F).

Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate and can be used under the arm (always use the thermometer under the arm with children under five years old). Hold your child’s arm against their body and leave the thermometer in place for the time stated in the instructions.

Ear thermometers are put in the child’s ear. They take the temperature in a few seconds and do not disturb the child, but they can be expensive to purchase. Ear thermometers may give low readings when not correctly placed in the ear. Read the instructions carefully.

Strip-type thermometers, which you hold on your child’s forehead, are not always an accurate way of taking their temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, not the body.

Mercury thermometers are being phased out. The amount of mercury is very small, but using mercury thermometers is not recommended.


My baby is crying more than usual and seems to be irritable and hot.


Is there a fever, have you checked their temperature? Look at ‘normal temperature level’ under types of thermometer. Have you tried paracetamol? Remember to check the label to give the right dose.


If you have tried this and it has not worked see your Pharmacist. If temperature is 38˚C or above coupled with a rash, contact your GP immediately.

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