Emergency Busters! Who You Gonna Call?
Doesn’t it feel like children get sick exactly at 5:02 p.m.? As soon as the pediatrician’s door deadbolts and their phones roll over to night service, your little one starts barking like a seal or spikes a fever. Now what do you do?
Contacting your child’s medical provider or a nurse advice line for direction on what’s best for your child’s condition is beneficial. They can triage your child’s condition over the phone and decide where and when you need to be seen by asking several questions.
Urgent care visits:
“If the injury or illness is not severe, a pediatric urgent care center provides care and/or treatment for your child,” offers Dr. Alfred. “Urgent care centers are equipped and staffed to see non-life threatening, minor illnesses or injuries.”
- Minor cuts, sprains or strains
- Ear pain
- Sore throat
- Mild allergic reactions
- Suspected simple broken bone
- Minor animal bites, insect bites or stings
- Mild asthma or wheezing
- Croup (barky cough)
- Eye infections (pink eye)
- Fever (except infants less than 8 weeks of age)
- Skin rashes
- Urinary tract (bladder) infections
Discuss with your child’s doctor before emergent situations arise which urgent care center she recommends and is accepted by your insurance.
Head straight to emergency room:
There are situations when your child requires a higher medical level of care, which only an ER can provide. Dr. Alfred lists these common emergencies as requiring immediate attention:
- Large, gaping or bleeding cuts
- Head injury, multiple injuries, obvious broken bones
- Vomiting after head injury
- Sick newborn (fever, not feeding well, not acting right)
- Severe pain
- Can’t walk
- Tender abdomen
- Severe asthma, wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Drooling or trouble swallowing
- Stiff or injured neck
- Fever over 105°F (40.6°C)
- Poisoning or ingestion of medication or household product. (First call Poison Control Center to determine if ER treatment is necessary.)
When to call for an ambulance?
You’ve heard this message a dozen of times. “If this is a medical emergency, hang up and call 9-1-1.” But what defines a medical emergency, and furthermore, what warrants a 9-1-1 call? Frequently parents believe they might be able to drive their child to the ER faster in their vehicle, but in most cases it’s best to let the professionals take over. “The 911 operator can advise and assist you until the ambulance arrives,” Dr. Alfred says. “The EMT or paramedic team can stabilize an injury, administer oxygen, start IV medications or perform life saving efforts if needed. They also can provide the safest and fastest transit to the nearest emergency facility, calling ahead to alert the emergency room doctors about the status of the child. Don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 if your child is in need of immediate help.”
Call 9-1-1 if your child has:
- Severe difficulty breathing or turning blue.
- Loss of consciousness or unresponsive.
- Trauma or fall with loss of consciousness, or concern of head or neck injury.
- Broken bones with such severe pain or deformity that you could not safely restrain the child in the car, or with bones sticking out of the skin.
- Seizures lasting more than 3 minutes, or if the child has labored breathing or is turning blue.
- Severe cuts or uncontrolled bleeding that does not stop by applying pressure.
- Possible poisoning where Poison Control directs you to call 9-1-1, or your child is not responsive after ingesting a medication or household product.
Numbers to program into YOUR phone (all open 24/7):
- Poison Control: 1.800.222.1222
- CMH Nurse Advice Line: 1.866.399.5941
- Ask-a-Nurse (Shawnee Mission Medical Center): 913.676.777
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What’s your emergency room story? Have you had an interesting ambulance experience? Or had to call poison control during your child’s one-year-old photo session?
© 2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.