My child is unwell, but not with COVID-19

What to do if your child becomes unwell during the pandemic.

By Callum Campbell · Published: April 2, 2020

Adult holding a child's hand in hospital

Despite the current focus on COVID-19, children of all ages will still become unwell with a variety of other conditions. The NHS understands this and should be ready to respond to those needs.

However, many families are understandably worried about what they should do during the current COVID-19 outbreak if their child does become unwell with non-COVID-19 symptoms. Here is some guidance:

  • Hospitals are still fully open and responding to all emergency situations, despite the COVID-19 situation.
  • If you have a child who becomes unwell during this period then you should follow your normal escalation procedure.
  • If you feel at any point that you need to seek emergency medical assistance by calling 999, please ensure you still do this, your call should still be answered and responded to.
  • If your normal escalation route has been disrupted due to COVID-19 measures, (e.g. your GP is not available, 111 queues are long, or your local support team is not responding) then if you are concerned you should attend your local Emergency Department or call 999 for assistance.
  • Remember the 6 signs of Sepsis – If your child has any of these symptoms you should take immediate action:
    • Looks mottled, bluish or pale
    • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
    • Feels abnormally cold to touch
    • Is breathing very fast
    • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
    • Has a fit or convulsion
  • Children with complex health needs and disabilities may have their ‘own normals’. If as a parent or carer you feel your child is sicker than they normally are, are getting worse, or they have any new symptoms, trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently.

Callum Campbell, Family Information Officer

First published 2 April 2020

Last reviewed 9 November 2021

Next review due January 2022