The red, amber and green signs when your baby is crying – and when to call 999

BABIES cry for many reasons – most commonly because they’re simply in need of milk or a nappy change.

But sometimes a babies wail is a sign of something more serious – but how do you know when a trip to the doctor is necessary?


Parents are told to go to hospital if their baby develops a rashCredit: Getty

Experts have created a new tool to help parents know how to respond to their baby crying and when to take them to hospital

The system, launched by the Belfast Trust, breaks down symptom severity into red, amber and green categories.

Symptoms such as developing a rash, becoming cold and going blue around the lips fall into the red category and require parents to seek emergency treatment or call 999.

Not interested in feeding, excessive sleepiness and difficulty breathing would be considered an amber emergency and require being seen to by a GP.

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If child does not seem to have any symptoms of serious illness or injury then this would fall into the green category – parents are urged to seek general advice from local pharmacies.

Dr Julie-Ann Maney, emergency consultant at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, said: “This is an excellent, informative tool which is designed not to replace the advice we provide in hospital, but as a guide to parents who are sometimes not sure of the right course of action to take.”

“Children regularly get sick, they can get up to 10 colds every year when they are very young, which is their immune system developing responses to the infections we are all exposed to every day.

“We recognise that this can be worrying for parents and want to help by providing high quality, easy to follow advice.”

Dr Sarah Kapur, general paediatric consultant, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children said, “Bringing a child to an emergency department is sometimes not the right course of action, but parents can feel they do not have access to the right information.

“We would much rather see a child who does not need to be there than not see one who does need to be there.

“However, we hope this symptom checker can provide some reassurance in addition to GP services, pharmacies and other aspects of the healthcare system.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I very much welcome the launch of this paediatric symptom checker. My thanks go all to those who have worked on its development.

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“I never cease to be inspired by the commitment of health care staff to innovation and improvement.

“I have no doubt this symptom checker will prove to be an invaluable resource for parents right across Northern Ireland.”

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