Pneumonia in children

Symptoms of pneumonia in children

Here are the symptoms and signs to look out for.

The symptoms of pneumonia and bronchiolitis are very similar especially in children up to 2 years old. Only your doctor will be able to make a firm diagnosis. Focus on treating your child’s symptoms and seek medical help if appropriate. We’ve got more information about when to visit your doctor and when to call 999.

In newborns and babies under 1 month, the main signs to look out for are:

  • struggling to breathe – they may be grunting or bobbing their head
  • drawing the muscles under their chest in when they breathe so it looks like they are breathing with their tummies
  • breathing fast
  • not feeding properly
  • no wet nappies for 12 hours or more
  • a fever – or a temperature that goes up and down a lot
  • irritability and sleeping badly
  • blue skin inside the lips or under the tongue

Babies over 1 month old might also:

  • cough a lot, although the cough can be soft
  • have difficulty breathing and draw the muscles under their chest in when they breathe
  • breathe loudly and make ‘wheezy’ sounds

Toddlers may also:

  • complain of pain in their chest or tummy
  • vomit after coughing
  • refuse to eat or drink

We’ve got more information about when to visit your doctor and when to call 999.

Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.