Advice for Parents and Carers

  • 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)

When should you worry?

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
  • Is under 3 months of age with a temperature of 38°C / 100.4°F or above (unless fever in the 48 hours following vaccinations and no other red or amber features)

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
  • Is 3-6 months of age with a temperature of 39°C / 102.2°F or above (but fever is common in babies up to 2 days after they receive vaccinations)
  • Continues to have a fever of 38.0°C or above for more than 5 days

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

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, contact NHS 111 – dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit

What do I do if I am worried my child has sepsis?

  • Get advice from a doctor or healthcare professional or ring 111
  • Your child will need to be examined and have a set of vital signs measured (temperature, heart rate and blood pressure)

Remember most children with fevers or who are unwell, don’t have sepsis


There is no one test to see if your child has sepsis.  The tests to look for the infection will vary depending on their age, symptoms and medical history. They can include blood tests, urine tests, chest X-rays and occasionally lumbar puncture (needle in the back to collect spinal fluid)

Your healthcare team should talk to you about any tests or procedures they would like to do, what will happen and what they are for


If you're worried that your child or baby is not getting better, still seems unwell or is not themselves, you should talk to a doctor or other healthcare professional. It is important to ask for advice if you're worried, even if you have already seen a doctor, are still having treatment, or are back home. This is because the problems caused by sepsis can come on very quickly, and you may need more (or different) treatment. You should always feel that you can ask questions at any point in your care.

Symptoms of sepsis - NHS (

Sepsis: what to look out for and what care you should expect (

Paediatric-Leaflet.pdf (​​​​​

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
Feedback Question: Has the advice on this page helped you with a healthcare decision?