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6 Serious Symptoms in Babies Never to Ignore

Find out what to do if your baby shows these symptoms.

4. Worsening jaundice (yellowing of the skin) continued...

If bilirubin levels skyrocket, they can affect the brain, causing seizures and permanent damage.

What should you do?

Most doctors will recommend feeding your infant more frequently, so that the baby gets rid of excess bilirubin in his or her stool.

The next step is to place the baby under ultraviolet (UV) lights (phototherapy) to increase the breakdown of bilirubin. “If it goes higher, blood transfusions may be needed,” Wong says.

Wong notes that “home care or phototherapy is usually enough to bring bilirubin down to a level where the baby’s body can get rid of it on its own.”

5. Dehydration

“If your baby is not making wet diapers, we worry about dehydration,” Wong says. “We like to see one diaper for every day old up to six days of age, and then six wet diapers a day going forward.” 

At the least, that means two diapers for two day-olds, three diapers for three-day-olds, and so on.

Others signs of severe dehydration may include dry mouth, sunken eyes, and lethargy.

What should you do?

Call your pediatrician for advice as soon as possible, Wong says. The doctor may recommend feeding the infant breast milk or formula. Water is actually not good to give a baby in these situations,Wong notes,  because it can cause sodium levels to fall, and this can lead to seizures.

6. Throwing up bright green bile

Kids throw up. A lot. They throw up from coughing too hard, crying too hard, eating too much, and from those ubiquitous stomach bugs.

If they throw up greenish bile, however, it is serious, Wong says. Vomit that looks like dark coffee grounds can also be serious.

Green bile can indicate that the intestines are blocked, which needs immediate attention. Vomit that looks like ground coffee grounds may be a sign of internal bleeding. Vomiting after a head injury will also require evaluation because it can be a sign of a concussion or of bleeding inside the cranium. Head injuries, with or without vomiting, should be evaluated by a doctor.

What should you do?

Vomit that is greenish bile or blood-colored should be evaluated by the pediatrician immediately.

Head injuries, with our without vomiting, should be evaluated by a doctor. Call your pediatrician immediately, and follow his or her advice, Wong says.

In general, it's always better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, always trust your gut and call your pediatrician.

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Reviewed on September 24, 2013

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