Know the basics

Know the basics

Being prepared and knowing the signs

It is normal to worry that you won't recognise the signs that your baby is unwell. Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong with their baby/child from quite early on. 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. 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. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.

Paracetemol and ibuprofen

Consider using either paracetamol or ibuprofen in children with fever who appear distressed - as a general rule a temperature of over 37.5°C (99.5°F). Paracetamol can help to reduce fever and distress in children and so can ibuprofen. 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 not be given together at the same time. However, if your child remains distressed before the next dose of paracetamol OR ibuprofen is due, then you may want to try a dose of the other medicine later.

For example: 8am - paracetamol dose given, 11am - child remains distressed, ibuprofen dose given, 2pm - child remains distressed, paracetamol dose given. Ibuprofen should not be used if a child is at risk of dehydration (eg if not drinking).

Pharmacist says

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





Barrier cream

Liquid painkillers (e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen)

Barrier cream

Barrier cream

Natural oils

Natural oils like vegetable oil (for dry skin)




This guide will help you choose well when deciding where to go for advice if your child is ill or injured.

  • Minor bumps, cuts and bruises, sore throat, coughs and colds, mild tummy pain or headache

  • Self Care

  • You can treat minor illnesses and injuries at home by using the recommended medicines and making sure they get plenty of rest

  • If, as a parent you are: unsure, confused, need help or advice.

  • Health Visitor or NHS 111

  • Make a note of your Health Visitor’s telephone number.

  • Mild diarrhoea, constipation, mild skin irritations including spots/rash, mild fever

  • Pharmacist

    For advice on common illnesses, injuries and medication.

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

  • High temperature, persistent cough, head injuries not involving loss of consciousness, headache, tummy pain, vomiting/diarrhoea, worsening health conditions (inside GP hours)

  • GP

    For the treatment of illnesses and injuries that will not go away.

  • Make a note of your GP’s (family Doctor) telephone number.

  • Unexpected and sudden sickness, severe pain, worsening health conditions (outside GP hours)

  • NHS 111

    For 24 hour health advice and information.

  • As directed by NHS 111

  • Struggling for breath or choking, fitting, loss of consciousness, broken bones, swallowed poisons or tablets, blood loss, gaping wound, serious burns

  • A&E or 999

    For very severe or life threatening conditions.

  • As directed by 999
    call handler

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.