Is my baby or toddler seriously ill?

When to call an ambulance

It can be difficult to tell when a baby or toddler is seriously ill particularly as a new parent. The main thing is to trust your instinct if you believe your child is unwell.

Call 999 for an ambulance if your baby or child:

  • stops breathing
  • will not wake up
  • has a spotty, purple or red rash anywhere on their body that does not fade when you press a glass against it, as this could be a sign of sepsis – on brown or black skin, this may be easier to see on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
  • is under 8 weeks old and you’re very worried about them
  • has a febrile seizure (fit) for the first time, even if they seem to recover
  • has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • may have been seriously injured by you or someone else

Again, trust your instincts. You know what’s different or worrying behaviour in your child.

Is your baby or toddler seriously ill? – NHS (

Serious illness

Knowing the signs of a serious illness and who to contact is really important.

Out of hours

There are other ways of finding support from health professionals for your child which include out of hours services on an evening and weekend and when your GP practice is unavailable. You can also call 111.


You can always discuss minor ailments with your local pharmacist.