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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 that your baby is unwell. Trust your instincts, you know your baby best. If your baby seems to have a serious illness get medical attention straight away. 

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 it's less scary. Keep a small supply of useful medicines in a locked cabinet or somewhere up high where a child cannot reach them. See Health Visitor says, for 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. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen

Paracetamol can be given to babies and toddlers in the correct dose for their age. Check carton for details. Ibuprofen may be given to children who are three months of age or over and weigh at least 5kg (11lbs).

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. The two medicines should not be given at the same time but if you give one and it doesn’t help, you may consider using the other when the next dose is due. It is not advisable to give Ibuprofen if your child is dehydrated (dry mouth, no tears, not passed urine for 12 hours, unusually sleepy or sunken eyes).

Health Visitor says

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

Types of thermometer

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're expensive. 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-in-glass thermometers haven’t been used in hospitals for years and are no longer available to buy. Do not use mercury thermometers. If your child is exposed to mercury, get medical advice immediately.

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

Source: NHS Choices.