HiPP's A-Z of pregnancy & child health

The A-Z contains information on many aspects of pregnancy 
and child health. It is arranged alphabetically so you can find what you are looking for with ease. If you are at all concerned about your health or your child’s health, please consult your health professional.

Failure To Thrive

This is the term used when an infant or toddler fails to grow as expected - the comparison is made on a standardised growth chart.

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Febrile Convulsions

Febrile convulsions (or fits) can occur in young children and are caused by a high fever or rapid rise in temperature. The area of the brain that controls body temperature does not fully develop until a child is around 4. If your child has a convulsion, stay with them to make sure they come to no harm. They will usually go straight to sleep afterwards. Put them in the recovery position, on their side, and call the doctor or ambulance. If your baby suffers from febrile convulsions and starts to run a high temperature, try to cool them down by removing extra clothes and bedding. Only use antipyretics i.e. paracetamol/ibuprofen as directed on the packet.

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Fever/High Temperature

The medical term for a fever or high temperature is pyrexia. The normal average body temperature of a child is around 37°C (but this does vary). It?s always distressing when your baby or child has a fever, but it?s seldom harmful. Most fevers are caused by infections - either a bacterial infection such as tonsillitis, or a viral infection such as flu. White blood cells in the body fight infection and raise the temperature of the body in an effort to destroy the bacteria or virus.

Contact your doctor, or NHS Direct (0845 46 47), if you are at all worried - or if your child?s fever lasts more than 3 days.

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Fifth Disease

See Parvovirus or Slapped Cheek Disease

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First Aid

First aid courses are run by organisations such as:

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First Aid Kit

Some basic items to keep in your cupboard for children include:

  • Sticking plasters (some children love them and some hate them - plasters with pictures on can help in this case)
  • Wound dressings with bandages attached
  • Non-adherent wound dressings such as Melolin - medium and large
  • Roll of hypo-allergenic tape such as Micropore (use to hold a dressing in place or fasten a bandage)
  • Crepe bandage
  • Triangular bandage
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Digital thermometer
  • A suitable liquid paracetamol for children/babies e.g. Calpol
  • First aid manual or leaflet
  • Packs of sterile gauze swabs, for cleaning wounds
  • Finger bandage and applicator
  • Disposable gloves

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Fits in babies are most often caused by a high fever and are sometimes referred to as febrile convulsions.

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The main benefit of fluoride is that it strengthens tooth enamel which provides protection against tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that bacteria on the teeth produce. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found in water and some foods. Synthetic fluoride tends to be used in toothpaste and is also sometimes added to mains water supplies.

Your local water supplier should be able to tell you how much fluoride is in your water. In areas where water supplies contain too little fluoride, toothpaste containing fluoride can be used. If too much fluoride is given, teeth can become flecked. Your dentist should be able to advise you about fluoride levels and the use of fluoride toothpaste.

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Folic Acid Supplement

If you are hoping to become pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, remember to take a daily 400mcg folic acid supplement (and continue it until you are 12 weeks pregnant). Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

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Also known as the ?soft spot?, this is the name for either one of two membrane-covered areas on a baby?s skull. The most obvious one is on top of the baby?s head (the anterior fontanelle). This will gradually disappear over the course of the first 18 months as the baby grows and the bones of the skull move closer together. A sunken fontanelle can indicate dehydration.

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Food Allergy/Sensitivity

Babies are more likely to develop allergies if there is a family history of eczema, hay fever or food allergies. The most common foods causing reactions in young children are cows? milk, nuts (particularly peanuts), wheat, gluten, fish, shellfish and eggs (see allergies and anaphylactic shock).

Further information can be obtained from or from Kids with Food Allergies:

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Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Download our full list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.

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