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Child Health Emergencies
Having a very sick or severely injured child is a parent’s worst nightmare. If it happens to your child, would you know the best way to go about getting treatment? Knowing when to call an ambulance is important.
Signs that need your attention
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 lasting pain
Bleeding that will not stop or a cut that’s large, deep, or involves the head, chest, or belly
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 like suddenly becoming unusually sleepy or confused
A rapid heartbeat that doesn’t slow down
Steps to take
Consider this order:
Start CPR, if needed.
Call 911 or your local emergency number.
Call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222, if your child has swallowed a medicine or poison.
If the condition is not life threatening, you have time to first call your child's healthcare provider. He or she will be able to tell you what type of care is best for your situation. If you are not sure if the condition is life-threatening, call 911.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Duldner, John E., MD, MS
Date Last Reviewed:
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