Babies are delicate beings and their immune systems are still developing. This is why they are more prone to diseases and illnesses as compared to adults. There are many dangerous signs in babies that parents must keep an eye out for. The only form of communication that babies know is crying. Crying can indicate anything:
- your baby is hungry
- or he is sleepy
- or feeling bored
- or he may have colic
- or he may be ill
- or has a wet diaper
- or…… there can be plenty of reasons.
Sometimes we wish that someone should invent a baby language translator, just so that it was easier to pick up on the dangerous signs in babies.
Parents have to gradually learn to interpret the baby’s crying and understand what the baby needs or what is wrong with the baby. No matter how well you have learned to interpret your baby’s communication, sometimes you might miss out/ignore few signs which could be dangerous.
If your baby is otherwise alert and active, is feeding well and responds to your comfort, there could be nothing wrong. Occasionally your baby might be crankier or less active or not feed well. However, if it gets back to normal within a few hours, your baby should be fine.
As parents, you have to learn to recognize any warning signs in your baby and know how to respond to the situation. You are the best judge to notice any changes in your baby’s behavior.
A lot of infant fatalities can be avoided if treatment is given within a short time. Call your baby’s pediatrician immediately if you notice anything that is not right or unusual
with your baby.
Also Read: How to Soothe a Crying Baby in Minutes?
What are the dangerous signs in babies that you should keep a tab on?
The dangerous signs can be broadly divided into 3 categories:
Physical Warning Signs
Physical warning signs are the easily recognizable for parents. Let us understand what are the physical warning signs that should make you run to the doctor immediately.
#1. High Fever
Fever is one of the most common and recognizable warning signs. It is one of the first physical signs that show up to indicate that your body is fighting against something.
Fever can be caused by seasonal infections like viral flu or by serious infections like Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
But high temperature can be due to any of the following:
- Viral or Bacterial Flu
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Ear Infections
- Stomach Infections
It is better to consult the doctor immediately if your baby has temperature above 100.4 degrees.
#2. Febrile Seizures/Convulsions
High fever can trigger febrile seizures or convulsions in children from 6 months – 5 years old. It may last for a few seconds or for a few minutes. Though it is a scary experience, it is harmless and does not affect your baby’s health.
In simple febrile seizures, your baby’s whole body may convulse or twitch or shake. It may not last more than 15 minutes. In complex febrile seizures, the convulsions can last more than 15 minutes or may occur more than once in 24 hours. Though it is not known to affect your baby’s well-being, it is better to call the doctor immediately if your child has a febrile seizure. Seizures can turn serious if it constricts your baby’s breathing.
#3. Umbilical Cord Infections
Umbilical cord infections can cause severe skin irritation, pus formation around the stump along with unpleasant smell. If you notice reddish skin or pus formed at the umbilical stump, take your baby to doctor immediately.
#4. Skin rashes or hives
If there are rashes or hives anywhere on your baby’s body and is accompanied by fever or sluggishness, rush to the doctor immediately. These could indicate chickenpox infection or hands, foot and mouth disease also.
Also Read: 10 Tips to Find Out if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breastmilk
Behavioral Warning Signs
A sudden change in your baby’s behavior can indicate something is wrong. Though your baby’s appetite and activity level can vary from day to day, distinct changes in behavior is a serious sign.
Let us understand some of the examples of behavioral changes:
#5. Prolonged crying
Crying is the only way infants communicate their needs. As parents, you start understanding your baby’s cries of hunger, sleepiness or boredom. However, if your baby does not stop crying or refuses to calm down by usual methods, it is better to head to the nearest doctor immediately.
Prolonged crying, irritability or crying with unusual sounds are warning signs for the parents that the baby needs immediate medical attention.
#6. Intermittent hard crying
If you notice that your baby cries very hard intermittently and is calm in between, it could be a symptom of intussusception. It is a rare case of intestinal blockage for which immediate medical attention is needed.
Other signs of intussusception are:
- Bloody and jelly-like stools
If you find your baby less active, highly drowsy and sluggish throughout the day, it could be a sign of a bodily infection or low sugar or low thyroid function. Infections such as hands, foot and mouth disease, bacterial and viral infections can cause immediate sluggishness and appetite loss before presenting physical symptoms.
Low sugar may be caused by various reasons such as onset of juvenile diabetes, improper diet etc. So, ensure that your baby is having sufficient number of feeds.
Also Read: Baby Care in the Initial Days
Feeding and Digestion Warning Signs
Warning signs related to feeding and digestion are rather subtle compared to physical and behavioral signs. With the feeding patterns changing along with the growing baby, it is difficult to identify any symptom as a warning sign.
If your child is refusing to eat even its favorite food or misses its feedings, it is a serious sign of illness. A sick baby may not feel hunger or may not have the energy to suck the milk or chew the food.
Let us understand some examples:
Most babies tend to spit up milk after feedings. However, there are certain cases which have to be considered as warning signs which need immediate medical attention.
- If your baby spits up unusually large amounts of milk after every feed which could indicate severe indigestion.
- If your baby forcefully vomits every feed which could indicate stomach infection.
- If your baby’s vomit is green-tinged which indicates intestinal obstruction.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Make your Baby Burp
Diarrhea is a clear indication that your baby might have a stomach infection or an intestinal infection. It makes the baby severely dehydrated and tired. Sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea may be accompanied by fever also. Some types of parasite and viral infections cause blood-tinged, mucus-filled diarrhea in toddlers.
So, it is important to rush your baby to the pediatrician as soon as you notice your child having diarrhea more than twice in a day.
#10. Absence of urine or blood-tinged urine
Your baby should have at least wet 4 diapers in a day. If you notice that your baby is not urinating frequently, it is a serious sign which needs immediate medical attention.
Watch out for the below warning signs:
- If your baby has not passed urine for more than a day, it could mean possible obstruction.
- If your baby cries or shows discomfort while passing urine, it could indicate urine infection.
- If there is blood in your baby’s urine, it could indicate internal bleeding.
- If your baby’s urine has a slightly pinkish tinge, it indicates concentrated urine caused by dehydration.
If your baby has any of the symptoms above, rush it to the doctor immediately.
Also Read: 8 Precautions in Breastfeeding when Mom is Sick (Including 5 Advantages)
Dear Parents, bringing up a baby is not an easy job. Your baby has only one means of communication with you i.e. crying. As parents, you may learn to interpret your little one’s crying language and respond to it but sometimes we may miss out some signs that mean there is something wrong with your baby.
You are the best person who knows about your baby’s usual routine like number of feeds and quantity, activeness, number of stools, crying types etc. If you observe any unusual changes in your baby’s routine or behavior, it is better to consult a doctor immediately.
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