Kernicterus is a rare but serious complication of untreated jaundice in babies. It's caused by excess bilirubin damaging the brain or central nervous system.
Open all pages about Newborn jaundice
Jaundice is caused by a build-up of a substance called bilirubin in the blood. Babies often have too much bilirubin in their first 2 weeks.
Most babies with newborn jaundice get better within 2 weeks. If it does not get better, they may need special light treatment or a blood transfusion.
Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition in newborn babies that causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn yellow.
Symptoms of newborn jaundice include your baby's skin, whites of their eyes, mouth, hands and feet turning yellow.
Page last reviewed: 04/09/2018
Next review due: 04/09/2021