For healthcare professionals only

Letters NICE’s traffic light system for febrile children

When used appropriately, NICE’s traffic light system for febrile children helps clinicians make safe and appropriate decisions

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 03 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2518
  1. M Stephen Murphy, clinical director (child health)1,
  2. Mark Baker, director, Centre for Clinical Practice2
  1. 1National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London NW1 4RG, UK
  2. 2National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, London, UK
  1. msm{at}

Spence suggests that the traffic light system in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s latest clinical guideline on feverish illness in children leads to poor clinical practice.1 2 We disagree. Fever in children is usually caused by a minor illness but can occasionally be caused by a life threatening infection. This poses a challenge for experienced and inexperienced healthcare professionals alike. Carefully considered guidance is needed.

The traffic light system identifies “red” (high risk), “amber” (intermediate risk), and “green” (low risk) symptoms and signs to help in clinical evaluation and clinical decision making. Spence believes …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription