This advice sheet has been written for safety netting advice after your child has had an initial review by their GP, nurse or hospital doctor for their headache symptoms.

When should you worry?

If your child has any of the following:

  • If your child becomes very sleepy with their headache or is difficult to wake
  • If your child’s headache is associated with confusion, disorientation or change in behaviour
  • If your child’s headache is waking them from sleep
  • If your child’s headache is worse on coughing or straining
  • If your child develops new, persistent blurring of their vision, double vision, new squint or abnormal eye movements
  • If your child develops new weakness/ loss of balance / co-ordination problems / abnormal head posture or walking difficulties
  • If your child develops vomiting overnight or persistent daytime vomiting related to headache.

You need urgent help.

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

If your child has any of the following:

  • If your child’s headache is unresponsive to initial advice/treatment given by your doctor/nurse
  • If your child needs paracetamol or ibuprofen more than 3 times a week
  • If your child’s headache is impacting on school attendance

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or contact NHS 111 - dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit 111.nhs.uk

If none of the above features are present

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 you help your child’s headache?

  • Start a headache diary. Record date, time, triggers, severity, any other associated symptoms Ensure your child drinking a good amount of fluid (no caffeine/fizzy drinks)
  • Ensure your child is eating regular meals and doesn’t skip meals
  • Ensure your child has is getting good sleep
  • Ensure your child is having regular exercise
  • Consider limiting screen time
  • Simple analgesia paracetamol or ibuprofen can be given but less than 3 times a week.
  • Book your child an eye test with your local optician



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

Hide this section
Show accessibility tools