Parents Choose Well

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There are a vast number of services and facilities in place to help support you and your child if they become poorly. This can lead to some confusion around which service would be best to go to for advice, guidance and treatment (if necessary).

We have developed a leaflet to inform your decision if your child becomes unwell. The leaflet details a number of common illnesses and local, community-based services such as NHS 111 and your pharmacist who can often provide support to help you manage your child’s illness at home.

The leaflet is designed to guide you to the best possible service for your child locally and therefore helping you to select the most appropriate treatment option available.

For a full complement of services available locally, please visit NHS Choices.

Finally, if your child’s condition deteriorates you are encouraged to seek medical advice immediately.

Healthcare professionals came together to provide a guide to three common childhood health ailments that parents can use to self-treat, visit their GP, or call NHS111 and know what to do in an emergency. The three illnesses are:

  • Diarrhoea and Vomiting
  • Bronchiolitis (not just a cold, but an infection of the lower airways)
  • Head Injury

More information about these conditions can be found below.


Bronchiolitis is a common respiratory tract infection that affects babies and young children under a year old. The early symptoms are similar to those of a common cold and include a runny nose and cough.

As it develops, the symptoms of bronchiolitis can include a persistent cough, noisy breathing and difficulty feeding.

Symptoms usually improve after three days and in most cases, the illness isn’t serious. However, contact your GP or health visitor if your child is only able to feed half the normal amount or is struggling to breathe, or if you are generally worried about them.

More information: 

Download bronchiolitis advice sheet for parents


Sickness and diarrhoea bugs are caught easily and are often passed on in places where there are lots of children.

Feeling sick and suddenly being sick are normally the first signs. Diarrhoea can follow afterward. If your child is not vomiting frequently, is reasonably comfortable in between and you are able to give them frequent small amounts of water, they are less likely to become dehydrated and probably don't need to see a doctor. Speak to your GP if they are unwell for longer than 24 hours or sooner if they are newborn or if you notice signs of dehydration.

If you're breastfeeding, keep on doing so even more frequently. Offer older children plenty of water, or an ice-lolly for them to suck. If they want to eat, give them plain foods like pasta or boiled rice (nothing too rich or salty).

Keep them away from others, especially children, who may pick up an infection. Be extra careful with everyone’s handwashing.

More information: 

Download gastroenteritis advice sheet for parents

Head injury

Children have many bangs to the head and it can be difficult to tell whether they are serious or not. Most head injuries are not serious and simply result in a bump or bruise but occasionally head injuries can result in damage to the brain.

One of the signs of a severe head injury is being unusually sleepy; this does not mean you cannot let your child sleep. You need to get medical attention if:
• They are vomiting persistently (more than three times).
• They are complaining it hurts.
• They are less responsive to you.
• Pain is not relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen.
If they are tired from what’s happened, or from crying, then it is fine to let them sleep. If you are worried in any way about their drowsiness, then you should wake your child an hour after they go to sleep.

More information: 

Download the head injury advice sheet for parents