Learn about signs that your baby may be ill, such as fever, irritability, and lethargy, and when to take your baby to a doctor.
- Fever is usually a sign that your baby’s body is fighting an infection.
- One of the first signs of illness in babies is a change in behaviour such as being lethargic or irritable.
- In newborn babies and young infants three months of age or under, fever may be the first and only sign of a serious infection.
A change in behaviour is often a sign of illness in babies. If your baby is ill, they may cry more or have a change in activity level.
When to see a doctor
See your child’s doctor right away if you notice any of the following signs:
- a fever (for babies 3 months old or younger)
- crying inconsolably
- listless or limp
- having convulsions (seizures)
- fontanelle, the soft spot at the top of their head, is starting to swell
- purple splotches on their skin, or another type of rash
- pale or flushed
- problems breathing
- refusing to breastfeed or drink from a bottle
- appears to have trouble swallowing
- vomiting or has diarrhea
In newborn babies and young infants three months of age or under, fever may be the first and only sign of a serious infection. If you notice a temperature that is even just slightly above the normal range, bring your newborn baby to the doctor as soon as possible. A normal temperature is 38°C (101°F) taken rectally or 37.5°C (99.5°F) taken under the armpit.