Herstmonceux Integrative Health Centre

Hailsham Road, Herstmonceux, East Sussex, BN27 4JX

Telephone: 01323 833535


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The official traffic light system for assessing a child under 5 with a fever

If your child has a fever:

  1. Assess how ill they are – are you worried and feel scared for them, or is it just that they are miserable and uncomfortable?  You are the expert in your child and your assessment of them is important. If you are not sure if you need to call for help then give them some fluids and reassess them in 30 minutes.

This is the link below  – if it doesn’t open automatically you can copy and paste this into google, or search yourself for the NICE traffic light system for identifying serious illness in under 5s

NG143 Traffic light tool (nice.org.uk)


2. Think about what might be the cause of the fever. Do they have a cough and a cold that would explain it? Are they teething? If you cannot explain it then that is more worrisome and we would suggest you phone a doctor sooner rather than later.


3. If they are over 6 months consider whether giving them some simple medicine to bring down their fever and control their pain might help.  This might be junior paracetamol ( like calpol, which you can give up to 4 times in a day , and lasts 4-6 hours) or some junior ibuprofen ( like junifen, which you can give 3 times in a day and lasts up to 8 hours).

If they are under six months, it is not that these medicines are harmful, but your doctor would like to see or discuss anyone under 6 months who has a fever, simply because they can become very unwell quite quickly.


4. Are they winning? Babies over 6 months old and toddlers can expect to get 6 or 7 upper respiratory infections ( like a cold) per year, and each one might last 2-3 weeks. It is normal for your child to be a bit snotty for much of the winter. If they are still playing and eating as normal then no need to worry. If they are getting worse rather than better and/or you are worried, then do always feel that you can seek medical advice from your surgery or via 111 or go to a and e.

December 2022 Newsflash:  Due to the current Strep A outbreak we will be more likely to suggest a course of antibiotics for your child than we usually would be.