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When to Get Emergency Care for Your Child

Many minor injuries can be handled at home. But there are times when a trip to an emergency room (ER) is needed. Take your child to an emergency room if they have any of these:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Coughing up blood 

  • Blue or purple color to lips, skin, or nails

  • Severe chest or stomach pain or pressure

  • Severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea 

  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision

  • Loss of consciousness, confusion, or trouble waking

  • Seizures

  • Animal, snake, or human bites

  • Severe pain

  • Loss of motion or feeling anywhere in the body

  • Severe bleeding or bleeding that does not stop after 10 to 15 minutes of direct pressure

  • Severe burns

  • Burns of the face

  • Broken bones

  • Puncture wounds

  • Head, spinal cord, or eye injuries

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of the face, lips, eyes, or tongue, fainting, or trouble breathing, swallowing, or wheezing

  • Exposure to poison. Follow instructions from the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

  • Any ongoing or worsening confusion, headache, or vomiting after any type of head injury

  • Serious threats of self-harm

This is not a full list. There are other problems that may need emergency care. Contact your child's healthcare provider for more information.

Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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