The Baby Check score card was used by junior paediatric doctors to assess 262 babies under 6 months old presenting to hospital. The duty registrar and two consultants independently graded the severity of each baby's illness without knowledge of the Baby Check score. The registrars assessed the babies at presentation while the consultants reviewed the notes. The consultants and registrars agreed about the need for hospital admission only about 75% of the time. The score's sensitivity and predictive values were similar to those of the registrars' grading. The score's specificity was 87%. Babies with serious diagnosis scored high, while minor illnesses scored low. The predictive value for requiring hospital admission increased with the score, rising to 100% for scores of 20 or more. The appropriate use of Baby Check should improve the detection of serious illness. It could also reduce the number of babies admitted with minor illness, without putting them at increased risk.
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