Quick Help Guide For Parents Of Child Cancer Patients

Quick Help Guide For Parents Of Child Cancer Patients

It's good to have important numbers on hand in case your child with cancer becomes unwell. Write them down and keep them in a handy place like on your fridge, in your car or in your diary.


When should I seek help for my child with cancer?

Seek help if your child:

  • does not feel well or look right (or you are worried about them)
  • has a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above
  • has an infection - redness or tenderness anywhere on the body
  • is in contact with chickenpox or measles
  • has any bleeding- nose bleed for more than 5 minutes, bleeding gums or bruising
  • has tiny red or purple flat spots on the skin (petechiae)
  • is excessively tired, pale or short of breath
  • is dehydrated - weeing less, dry mouth, no tears when crying
  • is in severe or long-lasting (persistent) pain
  • refuses to drink
  • is not swallowing saliva
  • has missed a dose of medicine
  • is vomiting less than half an hour after medicine

Who should I call if my child with cancer is unwell?

If you are concerned that your child has any of the symptoms above, call the outpatient clinic (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm) and ask to speak to the nurse in charge, or your shared care hospital.

After hours, please call the ward and ask to speak with the nurse in charge.

Make sure you have contact numbers for the following and keep them in a handy place - like on the fridge: 

  • outpatient clinic
  • inpatient ward
  • hospital switchboard
  • shared care hospital

Read more about childhood cancer


All the pages in the childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network Clinical Leader.

This page last reviewed 18 August 2020.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it