If your child has any of the following:

  • Is pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is going blue around the lips
  • Becomes extremely agitated, confused or very lethargic (difficult to wake)
  • Has a fit / seizure
  • Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (see the ‘Glass Test’)
  • If you think that your child has broken a bone

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:

  • Is unable to put any weight on their leg
  • Is no better after 48 hours
  • Develops a fever above 38.5°C

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111

If your child:

  • continues to have pain/limp that is slowly improving but he/she is otherwise well.

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

How can I help my child?

  • Use painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to keep your child comfortable - please read and follow the instructions on the medicine container

Why does your child have a limp?

  • If your child starts limping, it's usually the sign of a minor injury such as a sprain. However, if they haven't had any obvious injury, they may need to be seen by a healthcare professional to look for other possible causes.
  • Irritable hip (also known as Transient Synovitis) is a common childhood condition that causes symptoms of hip pain and limping.
  • However, irritable hip shares some of the symptoms of more serious hip conditions, such as septic arthritis (an infection inside the hip).

What should you look out for?

  • If your child develops a temperature above 38.5°C, their pain is no better after 48 hours or they are unable to put any weight on their leg, they need to be seen urgently by your GP.

What can you do to help your child?

  • Give your child ibuprofen for a few days. You can also give paracetamol to help with the pain.
  • Your child should rest as much as possible until the symptoms have resolved. You can then allow your child to gradually return to their usual activities.

How long will it take for my child to get better?

  • Your child should start getting better within a couple of days.
  • If they are not better within 48 hours, or not back to normal within 7 days, you should arrange for them to be seen by your GP.

This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

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