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Babies and children - when to see your GP

If you are worried about your child, do not hesitate to contact your GP or public health nurse for advice.

Many GPs will give advice over the phone or will try to fit a baby or young child in without an appointment.

They would prefer to advise you now and prevent a child from getting seriously unwell later.

If you need urgent help

Go to your nearest hospital emergency department that admits children if your child is seriously unwell.

When to get urgent help if your baby or child is seriously unwell

When to see your GP soon

Make an appointment to see your GP if your:

  • baby is not gaining weight or is losing weight
  • child has pain that's keeping them awake
  • child has a cough that is not going away or a mild wheeze

When to get help in the next few days

You may want to get advice from your GP or pharmacist if your child has:

  • a sore ear or a sore throat
  • vomiting or diarrhoea but is able to keep fluids down
  • a mild fever (a temperature of less than 38 degrees Celsius) that is lasting for more than 2 to 3 days

If you cannot get an appointment

If you cannot get an appointment with your GP, ask if another GP can see you.

Phone the GP out-of-hours service in your area if your GP surgery is closed and your child needs to be seen urgently.


Children and babies can get COVID-19 (coronavirus) but it's usually less serious than it is for adults.

What to do if your child has symptoms of COVID-19

GP visit charges

GP visits are usually free for babies and very young children. All children under 6 can get a GP visit card.

If you have a medical card or a GP visit card for your child, you will not be charged to see the out-of-hours GP.

If you do not have a medical card or GP visit card for your child, you may have to pay. This is often slightly higher than what your regular GP would charge.

Page last reviewed: 7 July 2023
Next review due: 7 July 2026