What parents should do if their child gets ill during the UK lockdown

New advice has been published for parents on what to do if their child becomes unwell during the UK lockdown.

The information, by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), aims to reassure parents and point them in the right direction for help.

A spokesman from the RCPCH said: "While it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured.

"Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done."

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Here's what the RCPCH recommend you do for the following:

CATEGORY RED (Urgent help)

If your child has any of the following go to the nearest A&E department or phone 999:
• Becomes pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to the touch
• Has pauses in their breathing (apnoeas), has an irregular breathing pattern or starts grunting
• Severe difficulty in breathing becoming agitated or unresponsive
• Is going blue round the lips
• Has a fit/seizure
• Becomes extremely distressed (crying inconsolably despite distraction), confused, very lethargic (difficult to wake) or unresponsive
• Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (the ‘Glass test’)
• Has testicular pain, especially in teenage boys

What to do: Go to the nearest A&E department or phone 999.

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CATEGORY AMBER (Contact a doctor or a nurse)

If your child has any of the following contact a nurse or a doctor today:

  • Is finding it hard to breathe including drawing in of the muscles below their lower ribs, at their neck or between their ribs (recession) or head bobbing
  • Seems dehydrated (dry mouth, sunken eyes, no tears, drowsy or passing less urine than usual)
  • Is becoming drowsy (excessively sleepy) or irritable (unable to settle them with toys, TV, food or picking up) – especially if they remain drowsy or irritable despite their fever coming down
  • Has extreme shivering or complains of muscle pain
  • Babies under 3 months of age with a temperature above 38°C /100.4°F
  • Infants 3-6 months of age with a temperature above 39°C /102.2°F
  • For all infants and children with a fever above 38°C for more than five days
  • Is getting worse or if you are worried
  • Has persistent vomiting and/or persistent severe abdominal pain
  • Has blood in their poo or wee
  • Any limb injury causing reduced movement, persisten

What to do: Ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 – dial 111. The NHS is working for you. However, we (the RCPCH) recognise during the current coronavirus crisis at peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for four hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a GP or 111,then take your child to the nearest A&E.


If none of the above features are present:
• You can continue to provide your child care at home. Information is also available on NHS Choices
• Additional advice is available to families for coping with crying of well babies
• Additional advice is available for children with complex health needs and disabilities.

What to do: Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111.