Know the basics

Know the basics

Being prepared and knowing the signs

Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong with their baby/child from quite early on. It is normal to worry that you won’t recognise the signs 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 prepared, you will find it easier to cope.

Keep a small supply of useful medicines in a locked cabinet or somewhere up high where a child cannot reach them. Make sure you have the right strength of medicine for the age of your child, always follow instructions carefully and check use by dates. Read the label carefully. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.

If your baby seems to have a serious illness get medical help straight away.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen

Consider using either sugar-free paracetamol or ibuprofen for children with a fever who appear distressed (as a general rule a temperature of over 38°C (100.4°F)), as these can help to reduce fever and distress. Treat them with either paracetamol OR ibuprofen in the first instance. It can take up to an hour for either of them to work. Paracetamol and ibuprofen should be staggered so that if your child continues to have a temperature after the dose of one of the medications, the other can be given. If your child suffers from asthma, seek advice from your GP or pharmacist before giving ibuprofen.


Pharmacist says

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





Barrier cream

Liquid painkillers (e.g. sugar-free paracetamol or ibuprofen)

Barrier cream

Barrier cream

  • Concern

  • Service

  • What to do?

  • Self Care

    The best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.

  • Grazed knee
    Sore throat
    Coughs and colds(runny nose)

  • Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet. You can treat minor illnesses and injuries at home by using the recommended medicines and making sure your child gets plenty of rest.

  • NHS 111
    For 24 hour health advice and information.

  • As a parent:
    If your child is unwell
    If you are unsure/confused
    If you need help

  • Call 111 when it is less urgent than 999

  • Pharmacist
    Can provide expert advice and treatment for common illnesses and injuries.

  • Mild diarrhoea
    Mild skin irritations (including spots/rash)
    Mild fever
    Bites and stings
    Painful cough

  • To find your local pharmacy and its contact details visit:

  • GP/out-of-hours GP
    For care outside normal hours, ring your GP practice. When it is closed, a message will direct you to extended hours or out-of-hours services.

  • High temperature
    Head injuries not involving loss of consciousness
    Persistent cough
    Minor bumps and cuts

  • For the treatment of illnesses and injuries that will not go away. Your doctor can provide a range of services by appointment. Make a note of your GP’s (family doctor) telephone number.

  • Walk-in centre/ Urgent care centre

  • Severe pain
    Worsening health conditions

  • Use for urgent, but not life-threatening situations.

  • A&E/999
    Should only be used for serious and life-threatening emergencies.

  • Choking
    Breathing difficulties
    Loss of consciousness
    Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
    Fever and they’re lethargic
    Swallowed poison or tablets

  • Call 999 or take your child to your nearest A&E.

NHS 111 is free to call from any landline or contract mobile phone. Pay-as-you-go mobile phones require 1 pence credit to make a call.