Know the basics

Being prepared and knowing the signs

Parents are usually good at noticing when something is wrong. However, 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.

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.

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.

Find out about CPR (resuscitation) before a possible emergency, visit

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 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. Often a fever can be left to run its course unless there are other signs of serious illness. Ensure they are drinking enough and appear otherwise well. 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 is due, then you may want to try a dose of the other medicine.

Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age.

Pharmacist says

Keep a small supply of useful medicines in a locked cabinet or somewhere up high where a child cannot reach them. Include things like:

  • Thermometer
  • Plasters
  • Liquid painkillers (e.g. sugar-free paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • Barrier cream
  • Antihistamine


Last updated: 20/11/2023

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