What is an emergency?
If your child is ill or injured, the following signs may suggest the need for immediate attention:
- Fainting or loss of consciousness or if your child seems confused or disoriented
- Unexplained seizure
- Trouble breathing
- A stiff neck and/or a rash with high fever
- Loss of consciousness, confusion, headache or vomiting as the result of a head injury
- A cut that is large or deep
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- A large burn, especially if it includes the chest, face, feet, groin or hands
- Pain that is persistent and/or increases in intensity
- Fever greater than 100.4 in a baby less than 6 weeks old
Should you call 911?
If your child is unconscious, a bone is sticking out or the situation seems critical, dial 9-1-1 immediately for an ambulance. When your child’s condition is life threatening or might cause permanent harm, it is safer for your child to be transported via ambulance. If you are calling 911 from a cell phone be prepared to tell them your location and address.
Injuries or accidents that may result in a trip to the emergency room:
- Accidental poisoning including medicines, household cleaners, liquor (this includes beer and wine)
- Choking, drooling, difficulty breathing
- Electrical shocks
- Guns, knives, and other weapons
- Near drownings
What to do in an emergency?
- Remain calm and call 9-1-1
- Begin CPR, if the child is not breathing
- In the case of a seizure, place the child on the floor
- If your child is bleeding, apply a clean cloth and constant pressure to the wound
- Never move a child who is injured unless there is an immediate danger, like smoke inhalation or a fire
- If you suspect a poisoning, gather up any poisons, medications, etc., that you suspect your child has swallowed and take them with you to the emergency department. Tell the hospital if you suspect your child may have swallowed an item, like a small toy, marble, magnet, etc.
Teach kids to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season
Remind kids to:
- Avoid anyone who has a cold or smokes (secondhand smoke increases kids’ risk of getting sick)
- Wash hands well and often, especially after nose-blowing and playing with other kids
- Sneeze and cough into shirtsleeves or tissues – not hands
How to treat a cold
Since kids can get 8-10 colds per year, here is some advice on how to treat a cold.
Make them feel more comfortable with:
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed (check package for correct amount)
A cool-mist humidifier or steamy bathroom
Saline (or saltwater) drops for the nostrils
Gentle suction of nasal mucus using a bulb syringe when necessary
Offer lots of fluids (breast milk or formula for babies; water and Gatorade for older kids – but no caffeinated beverages.
Never give cough or cold medicine to children under 2 years old. Call a doctor first for older kids.
Never give aspirin to a child
Seek medical care if the child has:
Cold symptoms that get worse or last more than a week
Cough and congestion triggered by pollen, dust, pets, etc.
A barking cough or a cough that is severe and occurs in spasms
A high fever and appears ill; or any fever in a baby 3 months and younger
A sore throat that makes eating and drinking difficult
A bad headache