Some conditions that are not life-threatening for an adult can be more serious for babies and young children.

If you’re not sure what to do call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 (24 hours, 7 days).

In an emergency or life-threatening situation, you should always call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance or attend an ED.

Emergency care for children is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at all metropolitan
hospitals and peri-urban hospitals.

If your child requires urgent assessment you can also contact the Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service, run by the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Young babies and children

Young babies with fever, especially in the first few months of life, need to be assessed by a doctor. Other concerning symptoms include poor feeding, vomiting, lethargy or irritability and skin rash. Difficulty breathing is concerning for all children.

You know your child’s behaviour better than anyone else so if you are concerned or they are not behaving normally, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

For minor illness or injury, there are a range of care options to consider, including your local GP, out-of-hours medical centre, pharmacy or self-care at home.

Find more information on your child’s best health care option.

Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service

The Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service is a free service that connects parents with a virtual team of highly skilled emergency doctors and nurses who can assess and provide medical advice for your children, aged 6 months to 17 years.

The Service operates 9.00 am to 9.00 pm, 7 days.

Register and learn more about the Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service.

Facts about common winter illnesses

A range of fact sheets about other common childhood illnesses and injuries are also available on the WCH website.

Preventing illness

There are a range of things you can do to minimise your risk of getting sick, especially during the winter months.

  • Remember to wash, wipe and cover and maintain good hand hygiene if you or your child are sick. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage your children to do the same. 
  • Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious infection that is more serious than the common cold. Children aged six months and older can receive an annual vaccination against seasonal flu. This can reduce your child’s chance of getting the flu and reduce the severity of flu symptoms if they do catch the flu. Speak to your GP or immunisation provider about getting a flu vaccination this winter.
  • Children aged 5 years and over are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination is the best way to reduce your child’s risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19.
  • Eating nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables can help keep you and your family’s immune system strong. It is also important to keep hydrated in winter, so ensure you drink plenty of water.

Find out about other healthy living tips.

This information is a guide only and is not intended to be individual medical advice and should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace consultation with a qualified doctor or other health care professional.

If your symptoms don’t improve, or get worse, phone or visit a GP, out-of-hours medical centre or pharmacy. In an emergency, you should always call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.