When to Take Your Child to the ER
When To Take Your Child to the Emergency Department
Sometimes it can be difficult to know when a trip to the emergency department is necessary. If your child exhibits any of the following warning signs we suggest you take immediate action.
Warning Signs that Demand Action
- Fainting, loss of consciousness, seizure or convulsion
- Fever (temperature > 100.4) in a newborn
- Rapid or difficulty breathing, visibly using chest and stomach muscles to breathe
- Sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision
- Change in behavior, such as confusion or difficulty waking
- Severe or persistent vomiting or vomiting blood
- Severe or persistent diarrhea or blood in stools
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea with dry lips or mouth and/or decreased urination
- Profuse bleeding or bleeding that won't stop with direct pressure after 15 minutes
- A gaping wound with edges that don't come together
- Problems with movement or sensation after an injury
- A stiff neck associated with fever or headache
- Accidents involving pedestrians or bicycles and cars
- A red/purple rash that doesn't disappear when brief fingertip pressure is applied to the skin
- A bulging or sunken fontanel (soft spot) in infants
- Sudden severe pain anywhere in the body
- Falls from any significant height
- Mental health concerns (see warning signs)
What should you do?
- If possible, talk to your physician and follow his/her advice.
- If the situation is severe, or your child isn't responsive or can't be roused, call 911.
- If the child's condition seems life-threatening or could become so before you can reach the hospital, call 911.
- Otherwise, head for the Children's Emergency Department at the location closest to you.
Be ready before an emergency happens
- Talk to your physician about accident prevention and emergency care.
- Take courses in CPR and first aid.
- Tape a list of the Warning Signs above to your refrigerator, along with a map and directions to our children's emergency department.
- Print and fill out a Children's Emergency Consent Form to leave with your babysitter or other caregiver.
- Visit our Safety Store and Resource Center where we offer classes and products to help prevent emergencies.