Timeline of Childhood Illness


All children suffer from illness at some stage. As a parent, I understand the anxiety and fear that you can feel when your child is unwell. When you are left with a child and a range of life-threatening illnesses your mind can start to play tricks. Also, during the early years in particular, the same symptoms can mean different things. Vomiting is a good example of this. To give you a better idea of what to look out for, I have created this comprehensive timeline detailing the most common illnesses throughout the entire span of childhood, from birth to teens. Fully referenced with up-to-date research, it aims to dispel some of the anxieties you may have, describes symptoms and explain when best to seek medical advice.

Jump to age…

Newborn1 Week2 Weeks1 Month2 Months3 Months
4 Months5 Months6 Months7 Months9 Months10 Months
12 Months14 Months16 Months18 Months2 Years3 Years
4 Years5 Years6 Years7 Years8 Years9 Years
10 Years11 Years12 Years13 Years14 Years15 Years



1 Week:

  • Milia: Milia is a rash of tiny creamy white spots that may appear on the nose and cheeks of a newborn around now. The spots occur because the baby’s sebaceous glands are not well-enough developed to function properly. They remain until the sebaceous glands mature, usually within the first three months (Zuniga et al 2013). The spots are not itchy and give rise to no unpleasant symptoms in the baby.

  • Diaper Rash: Diaper or nappy rash affects most babies and toddlers at some point but is particularly troublesome in the early weeks because baby’s skin is so sensitive. It is most commonly caused by irritation of the skin from the ammonia in urine and faeces. Using cloth diapers can help reduce the risk of diaper rash because many babies are sensitive to the plastics in disposable diapers (Erasala 2011). Diaper rash can also be caused by a fungal infection. If a barrier cream does not help, see your doctor who may prescribe a low-dose steroid anti-inflammatory cream, or for an infection, some antibiotics.
  • Abdominal Distension: Most babies’ bellies normally stick out, especially after a large feeding. Between feedings, however, they should feel quite soft. If your child’s abdomen feels swollen and hard, and if he has not had a bowel movement for more than one or two days or is vomiting, call your doctor. Most likely the problem is due to gas or constipation, but it also could signal a more serious intestinal problem (Sullivan 2012).
  • Balanitis: This is the inflammation of the tip of the penis. It can be caused by diaper rash or by an allergic reaction to the soap powder in which your baby’s clothes are washed. The condition is not serious but a doctor should be consulted so that an antibiotic cream can be prescribed if necessary.