Knowing what signs to look for can help calm the panic so that you can decide if it’s serious enough to make an appointment with the pediatrician about your child:
If your baby is having trouble breathing, you need to call the doctor and 911 immediately.
Signs of difficulty breathing include:
- Your baby is breathing much more rapidly than usual.
- The tissue between the ribs, above the collar bones, or in the upper abdomen is sucked in when your infant inhales.
- Your baby grunts while exhaling.
- Your infant’s head is bobbing.
- Your baby’s lips or skin develop a bluish tinge.
Rashes are common in babies, but call the doctor if the rash covers a large area, especially the face, or is accompanied by a fever, oozing, bleeding or swelling, or if the rash looks infected.
Fever itself is not an illness, but rather the baby’s response to an illness – most commonly an infection. Call the doctor if your infant is less than three months old and has a rectal temperature above 100.4 F, or if your baby is between 3 and 6 months and has a temperature above 101 F. Even if the temperature is lower than these general guidelines, call the doctor if your infant appears ill with such signs as a rash, irritability, poor feeding, trouble breathing, a stiff neck, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, signs of dehydration or is lethargic or difficult to arouse.
If an infant has a fever coupled with symptoms of extreme somnolence, lethargy and inarousability, that is a definite cause for concern.
Dehydration can happen if the baby is feeding poorly, has a fever, is in too warm an environment, or has persistent vomiting or diarrhea. You can recognize dehydration if your baby has a dry mouth and gums, wets the diaper less frequently, sheds no tears when crying or the fontanel appears to sink slightly. If you think your baby is dehydrated, call the doctor.
Diarrhea is common in infants, but call the doctor if there is blood in the stool the baby has more than six watery stools a day, is not taking fluids or shows signs of dehydration.
Infants commonly “spit up” but frequent vomiting is reason for concern. Vomiting may not be serious if it happens only once or twice. However, if it happens more frequently, contains blood or is green in color, or if the baby looks dehydrated, call your doctor.