Child Health Emergencies
Having a very sick or severely injured child is a parent’s worst nightmare. If it happened to your child, would you know the best way to go about getting treatment? Knowing when to call an ambulance is important.
Symptoms to heed
Many emergencies involve sudden injuries caused by bicycle or car crashes, falls, burns, near drownings, electric shocks, or poisoning.
If your child has any of the following signs or symptoms, remain calm, and call 911:
Unconsciousness, fainting, or no response when spoken to
Swallowing a poisonous substance
Rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness
Trouble with breathing or shortness of breath
Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray
Increasing or severe persistent pain
Bleeding that will not stop or a cut that’s large, deep, or involves the head, chest, or abdomen
Neck stiffness or a rash with fever
Severe bleeding or head trauma
A burn that’s large or involves the hands, feet, groin, chest, or face
A change in mental status, such as suddenly becoming unusually sleepy, disoriented, or confused
A rapid heartbeat that doesn’t slow down
Steps to take
If you believe your child needs emergency medical care, do the following:
Call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 if your child has swallowed a medication or poison.
Call 911 or your local emergency number.
Start CPR, if needed.
For non-life-threatening conditions, you have time to first call your child’s pediatrician. He or she will be able to advise you what type of care is most appropriate for your situation. If you are in doubt if the condition is life-threatening, call 911.