Here's when you should take your poorly toddler to see the doctor

Toddlers always seem to have the sniffles, but when should you take the step to take them to see your GP?

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 2:24 pm

If you're worried about your toddler's health and concerned that you can't do enough for them at home - it is fine to call the doctor for an appointment, or even a consultation over the phone with your GP can put your mind at rest.

But here's when to make that call - if your toddler has any of these symptoms for more than 24 hours:


Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Here's when you should take your poorly toddler to see the doctor

If your tot is being sick, particularly if they are unable to hold down fluids or is repeatedly vomiting.

Sore throat

A severe sore throat and difficulty with swallowing or talking.


Pain when he or she wees, or if he/she is weeing more or less frequently than usual.


If the cough is barking and your child sounds raspy when breathing, this could be croup.


Pain in the eyes, a sensitivity to light and disturbed vision - or redness to one or both eyes.


Refusing water to the point where you’re concerned he could be dehydrated.


An unexplained rash is probably one of the most worrying things. If your toddler does have a rash AND a temperature of 38C or higher (a fever) that lasts for more than five days and isn't coming down with the help of paracetamol or ibuprofen.


Call the doctor if your child has six more episodes of diarrhoea in 24 hours.

Cuts and grazes

If the cut or graze oozes pus, or the area around the cut/graze becomes red, tender, hot and swollen, then call your GP.


Discharge from the ears, eyes, penis or the vagina.

Other health issues that you should phone your GP for

Vomiting blood and if your toddler has sunburn.

But what do I do if my GP surgery is closed?

If your GP surgery is closed, there should be a message advising you on what to do, for example being directed to an out-of-hours doctors service.

They may be able to give you the advise you need, or they can organise a home visit, or even an ambulance, should they think your child needs it.

Out of hours services normally run from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, all day at weekends and on bank holidays.

NHS 111

Another option is to call NHS 111. This is the NHS non-emergency number where trained advisors are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

You will be asked a number of questions about symptons etc, and they will advise you on the best course of action, whether it be a visit by a doctor or to go to hospital. The call is free from all landlines and mobiles.

Walk-in centres

In Wakefield, there's a walk-in centre on King Street. It's open 10am-10pm, seven days a week. Or they can be called on 01924 882350. They can deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as infections, bites, sprains, burns, cuts and bruises.

Taking your child to A&E

If your toddler has a condition or injury that is not life-threatening, but needs immediate treatment, take him to the A&E department. Go straight to A&E if your toddler:

*Has a fever that’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as a rash that doesn’t disappear when you press a glass on it, abnormal crying, or still seeming sluggish after being given ibuprofen or paracetamol. This may be a sign of a serious illness or infection.

*Is breathing very rapidly or has rasping breathing. You may also notice his tummy sucking in under his or her ribs, or his or her nostrils flaring when he/she breathes in.

*Has a serious fall, and you suspect he may have concussion, a broken bone or sprain.

*Severe tummy pain.

*Has blood or mucus in his poo.

*Swallows something that could be poisonous, even if he seems well. Take the packet or bottle to the hospital with you.

*Has an object lodged in his nose, ear, mouth or (for girls) vagina. Never try to remove objects yourself.

*Has a burn or scald.

*Has a leg or arm injury and is unable to use the limb.


One of the most scary words you hear when you're looking after a child. It can be difficult to diagnose because there are many symptoms that are similar to other infections.

But it's always best to play safe. If you are worried that your child might have meningitis, take them straight to A&E. OR if they are showing any of the following symptoms, call 999 for an ambulance:

A fever of 38C or above, accompanied by cold hands and feet.

*Refusing food and drink

*Unusually drowsy, lethargic or irritable

*Rapid beathing, or signs of breathing difficulties

*Pale skin that's blotchy or turning blue

*A purple-red rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass against it

*Sensitive to bright lights

*A stiff neck

*If they are repeatedly vomiting or being sick uncontrollably. Especially if the sickness is accompanied by any of the above symptoms.

Call an ambulance if your toddler:

Call 999 immediately if your child ever:

*Stops breathing.

*Is unconscious or semi-conscious.

*Can’t be woken, or if woken, doesn’t stay awake.

*Looks blue, mottled or pale.

*Is having trouble breathing, or is breathing abnormally quickly, particularly if his skin and lips start to develop a bluish tinge.

*Has a fit for the first time, or one that lasts for more than five minutes. Their eyes may roll back in their head, they might be unresponsive and his limbs may twitch. Fits are usually caused by a fever, but not always.

*Has a cut that won't stop bleeding or is gaping open. To stop bleeding, apply pressure to the cut with a clean cloth and try to keep the affected part raised.

*Has had an accident and you think his neck or spine could be injured. Don’t move him and keep him still.

Questions about your toddler's health

Sometimes you just want a bit of advice about minor ailments such as colds, coughs or nappy rash and that's where a pharmacist can help. They are fully qualified to answer questions and offer over-the-counter medicines that are suitable for your child.

They will advise you to see your GP if they believe your child needs to see a doctor.