How to know when to seek medical attention for your baby

By ParentsCanada staff on September 18, 2013
According to Dr. Daniel Flanders, there are some general guidelines that should ring alarm bells:

Any baby under one month of age with a fever (i.e. higher than 38C or 100.5F) – whether from a cold or any other illness - should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency department. A newborn baby with a fever is a potentially life-threatening situation and so no time should be wasted in the process of seeking emergency care.

For babies one month to three months of age with a fever, seek medical attention immediately, whether by seeing a physician within a few hours or proceeding directly to your local emergency department.

For babies older than three months, or non-febrile babies under three months of age, the decision to seek medical care for a cold is very much a parent’s judgment call. But here are some situations where it is advisable to contact your child’s doctor:
  • If your baby is having trouble breathing
  • If your baby is not feeding well enough to stay hydrated, i.e. is showing signs of dehydration: is persistently lethargic, is not peeing at least three times daily, has a dry mouth, is crying with no tears
  • If your baby has daily fevers for longer than 3-4 days. (See above for babes under 3 months old with fever)
  • If your baby develops pink-eye (conjunctivitis) with pussy sticky eye discharge
  • If your baby is in obvious inconsolable pain, discomfort, and/or distress that persists despite giving acetaminophen/ibuprofen - these can be signs of an illness that is more serious than a simple cold.

By ParentsCanada staff| September 18, 2013

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