A help­ing hand for par­ents wor­ried about the health of their baby

KNOW­ING WHAT’S ‘NOR­MAL’ FOR YOUR LIT­TLE ONE CAN BE TRICKY. A NEW APP AIMS TO HELP YOU. LISA SAL­MON RE­PORTS

Gloucestershire Echo - - FAMILY MATTERS -

HAV­ING an un­well baby and not know­ing what to do about it can be ter­ri­fy­ing for a par­ent.

But a free app de­vel­oped by The Lul­laby Trust char­ity aims to help mums and dads de­cide whether their baby needs a doc­tor or not, through out­lin­ing 19 sim­ple checks which test for dif­fer­ent symp­toms or signs of ill­ness.

The Baby Check app gives a score for each symp­tom – the higher the to­tal score, the sicker the baby is likely to be.

The Lul­laby Trust warns that, of course, the app is only a guide and is not meant to re­place your own judge­ment. Se­ri­ous prob­lems, such as your baby hav­ing a fit, be­ing un­re­spon­sive, hav­ing a se­ri­ous in­jury or a rash that doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass, de­mand an ur­gent trip to A&E.

Pro­fes­sor Rus­sell Viner, pres­i­dent of the Royal Col­lege of Pae­di­atrics and Child Health, says: “Hav­ing a baby can be an ex­tremely anx­ious time for par­ents, so any de­vice that can help put their mind at ease may be in­cred­i­bly use­ful.

“How­ever, if par­ents are very wor­ried about their baby, I would en­cour­age them to seek med­i­cal help from their fam­ily doc­tor for ex­am­ple, to en­sure that if their baby is in­deed un­well, any ill­ness is caught early.”

Here are the checks you can run through on the Lul­laby Trust app and what score they’d ‘earn’.

Add them up as you go through the list. If the to­tal score is seven or un­der, a baby is only a lit­tle un­well and med­i­cal at­ten­tion shouldn’t be nec­es­sary.

A score of above eight means you may need to seek med­i­cal ad­vice, and above 13 means the baby is ill and needs to see a doc­tor.

If the score is 20 or above, a baby may be se­ri­ously ill and should be seen by a doc­tor im­me­di­ately.

1 UN­USUAL CRY

YOU’LL know your baby’s usual cries from hunger or tired­ness. An un­usual cry could be: weak, high-pitched, moan­ing or painful.

If your baby has an un­usual cry score 2.

2 FLU­IDS TAKEN

IF YOUR baby has taken a lit­tle less fluid than usual over the last 24 hours, score 3, about half as much fluid as usual score 4, or if your baby has taken very lit­tle fluid score 9.

3 VOM­IT­ING

IF YOUR baby has vom­ited at least half the feed af­ter ev­ery one of the last three feeds, score 4.

4 GREEN VOMIT

VOMIT is green when it con­tains bile, and this may be a sign of ob­struc­tion in the in­tes­tine.

If your baby has green vomit, score 13.

5 WET NAP­PIES

IF YOUR baby has passed less urine than usual, score 3.

6 BLOOD IN A NAPPY

SMALL flecks of blood in a baby’s dirty nappy are usu­ally due to a tiny split at the open­ing to the back pas­sage and aren’t se­ri­ous.

How­ever, a large amount of ob­vi­ous blood may be se­ri­ous, as it could be the re­sult of a block­age or dam­age to the bowel. If there’s a lot of ob­vi­ous blood in your baby’s nappy, score 11.

7 DROWSI­NESS

THIS check isn’t about the time your baby’s been asleep or ir­ri­ta­ble. If your baby’s been oc­ca­sion­ally drowsy and less alert than usual score 3, or if drowsy most of the time score 5.

8 FLOPPINESS

IF YOUR baby seems more floppy than usual, score 4.

9 WATCH­ING

THIS check may be dif­fi­cult if your baby is cry­ing or ir­ri­ta­ble, but your baby should watch you be­tween cries. If your baby is watch­ing you less than usual score 4

10 AWARE­NESS

WATCH your baby – is he or she re­spond­ing to what’s go­ing on? If your baby is re­spond­ing less than usual to what’s go­ing on, score 5.

11 DIF­FI­CULTY BREATH­ING IN

IF A baby has breath­ing dif­fi­culty, the lower chest and up­per tummy will dip in with each breath. This is called ‘in­draw­ing’. When baby is quiet, watch the lower chest and up­per tummy.

If there’s in­draw­ing just vis­i­ble with each breath, score 4, if there’s ob­vi­ous or deep in­draw­ing with each breath, score 15.

12 LOOK­ING PALE

IF MOST of your baby’s body is much paler

than usual score 3. If your baby’s had an episode of go­ing very pale at any time dur­ing the last 24 hours score 3.

13 WHEEZ­ING

IF YOUR baby is wheez­ing when breath­ing out score 3.

14 BLUE NAILS

COM­PARE your baby’s nails to the nat­u­ral colour of your own fin­ger­nails. If your baby’s nails are blue score 3.

15 CIR­CU­LA­TION

GEN­TLY squeeze baby’s big toe to make it white. This won’t hurt your baby. Then let go and wait three sec­onds. Watch how quickly the colour re­turns. If your baby’s toe was com­pletely white be­fore the squeeze score 3. If your baby’s toe colour doesn’t re­turn within three sec­onds, score 3.

16 RASH

BA­BIES of­ten have a few spots or small ar­eas of rash. But if your baby has a rash which cov­ers a large part of the body score 4, or a rash which is large, raw or weep­ing, score 4.

17 HERNIA

IN BOYS, a hernia shows as an The Baby Check ob­vi­ous bulge app is free in the groin or scro­tum. It’s very rare in girls. If there’s a bulge in the groin or scro­tum which gets big­ger with cry­ing, score 13.

18 TEM­PER­A­TURE

IN A baby be­low three months, if the tem­per­a­ture is 38.0°C or more score 4. In a baby above three months, if the tem­per­a­ture is 39.0°C or more score 4.

19 CRY­ING DUR­ING CHECKS

IF YOUR baby has cried dur­ing the checks (more than a lit­tle griz­zle) score 3.

■ You can down­load the Lul­laby Trust’s Baby Check App from Google Play or the App Store for free now. Visit lul­labytrust.org.uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

An un­usual cry scores 2 on the Baby Check app

Prof Rus­sell Viner

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