Children are known to pick up germs everywhere they go and bump into things. Most of the time, your child may be fine with a bruise or a small cut. However, parents have a tough time knowing when to take their children to the emergency room.
It is essential to trust your gut to know if something feels wrong with your child. Then you can do the best you can to make them feel relaxed and comfortable.
If you are unsure whether your child needs to head to the ER, here are some common reasons to know when to take them for an emergency visit.
One of the most common reasons kids visit the ER is when they have a fever, especially if they are under 15 years old. This is because children are most vulnerable, and the cause for concern is much higher when they are too young.
For instance, if you have a newborn baby with a rectal temperature around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to call your doctor. Otherwise, a baby between 3 and 24 months old needs to go to the emergency room if they have a body temperature of 102 degrees.
Older children do not have a set temperature because they can handle recovering at home with some medicines and care. However, no matter how old your child is, you should always watch for signs like dry lips or mouth, lack of urine, dehydration, and sunken eyes.
If you notice these, you should plan for ER trips to ensure the safety and well-being of your child.
A child may cough if they have a minor irritation in their throat or eat and drink too fast. Many parents struggle knowing when a cough should become concerning enough to visit the doctor.
The best thing to do is listen carefully to pick up on a raspy and whooping sound. This should occur when your child takes a breath. You may also hear a high-pitched whistling wheeze when they breathe out.
If your child is struggling to swallow or breathe, you will notice right away and should head to the ER.
Abdominal pain can mean that a child is gassy. However, depending on the intensity of the pain, they may also be suffering from appendicitis. This is challenging for parents to pick up on unless their child describes the pain level accurately.
Many children cannot express this adequately, which leads to parents finding out when the pain has progressed. Ask your child to talk about their abdominal pain. Perhaps, you can also create a scale from 1-10 and get your children to pick a number, with 10 being the highest level of pain.
Encourage your child to point the exact location of where it hurts. Then you should press on that spot and ask if it hurts when even more or a little less you move your hand away.
Abdominal pain is not something any parent should ever take lightly, especially if it is coupled with diarrhea or vomiting. If your child does get sick, you should check for any blood in vomit. Remember that any signs of blood in vomit may not be red.
The droplets can look like coffee grounds, confusing parents who assume it is not blood. Then you should keep an eye on whether a child has a bloated and rigid belly that is hard to touch because this is one of the signs of a severe emergency.
Vomiting and Heaving
It is not surprising for children to vomit and expel anything that does not sit right in their stomachs. Your child may be feeling unwell if they are overeating or are struggling with motion sickness.
When you notice your child emptying their stomach’s contents more often, you should seek immediate medical attention. Vomiting causes lethargy and dehydration, so your child may also appear confused and overly exhausted.
The next step is to check their body temperature. If they have a fever, severe headache, stiff neck, or intense abdominal pain, you should rush to the ER.
Although a skin rash may seem harmless and temporary, it should be a cause of concern if your child also gets a fever. This is because when a fever accompanies a rash, it can indicate that your child is ill with measles or scarlet fever.
Any painful rashes should also be examined by your doctor. Most children get rashes as they grow.
However, if you notice that your child’s rashes spread rapidly and are covering the body out of the blue, you need to take them to the ER to cross out any serious bloodborne infections like Strep Meningococcus or a severe allergy. If left untreated, a child can have trouble breathing.
Many children from the age of 3 experience ear infections. You should always be on alert for pus draining from your child’s ear, redness, and fever.
Ear infections can be severely painful, and your child will need to be taken to the emergency room because it will be difficult for them to swallow any food or drinks.
Even if your child has a habit of falling at the playground regularly, you should always worry about head and neck injuries. Children’s brains are still developing, so even a minor head injury can have a long-term effect on their cognitive development.
Neck injuries are also serious because they can cause paralysis. Keep a close eye on your child to see if they ever lost consciousness after a fall, even if they may have blacked out for a few minutes.
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Visiting the Emergency Room
A visit to the emergency room is the last thing a parent wants. This can be an extremely stressful situation, which is why you should know these signs to know when your child needs urgent medical care.
Always keep a close eye on your children during a fever or after an accident to ensure you get to the ER to avoid more severe issues. If you enjoyed reading these tips, check out some of our other posts for more information.