Baby and Child Sickness – Danger Signs - English version - HE4240

May 2023
This resource relates to the following topics:

Leaflet in English and te reo Māori describing warning signs of illness in a young child - with a focus on the child's temperature, breathing, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

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May 2023
May 2023
A5 pad of 25 leaflets
HE code
Available languages

The full resource:

Get help quickly from a doctor if your baby or young child shows any of the signs listed below. Learn CPR (rescue breathing) to be prepared for emergencies.


  • Cannot be woken or is responding less than usual to what is going on around.

  • Has glazed eyes and is not focusing on anything.

  • Seems more floppy, drowsy or less alert than usual.

  • Has a convulsion or fit.

  • Has an unusual cry (high pitched, weak or continuous) for one hour or more.

  • Has severe abdominal pain.

  • Has a bulge in the groin that gets bigger with crying.

  • Young babies (less than 3 months old) need a more cautious approach. If your child is under 3 months old and you are worried about them, take them to your doctor. Trust your instinct.


  • Feels too cold or hot (temperature below 35°C or above 38.5°C).

Skin colour and circulation

  • Blue colour develops around the mouth.

  • A rash develops with reddish-purple spots or bruises.

  • Skin is much paler than usual or suddenly goes very white.


  • Struggles to breathe or stops breathing.

  • Breathes more quickly than normal or grunts when breathing out.

  • Wheezes when breathing out.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

  • Has vomited up at least half of their feed (food or milk) after each of the last three feeds.

  • Vomit is green.

  • Has both vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • Has drunk less fluid and has fewer wet nappies or visits to the toilet than usual.

  • Has blood in their poo.

Emergency numbers: