Banner Health Services  

When Should I Take my Child to the Emergency Department?


Jennifer Godwin is a physician's assistant, at Banner Baywood Medical Center.

Question: When is it appropriate to take my young child to the ER?

Answer: When your child is sick, consider calling your doctor. However, some sick children need to be seen in the Emergency department. 

There are some definite signs that indicate when you should take your child to the Emergency department:

  • If your child is younger than one month – and has a temperature of 100.4F or higher.
  • If your child is not acting right - If your child isn’t making eye contact, feels limp and lifeless or has a strange cry.
  • If your child is having difficulties breathing or starts to turn blue - If your child can’t breathe, call 911.
  • If his/her fever doesn’t come down below 101 - an hour after fever medicine.
  • If your child has a seizure.
  • If your child shows signs of a urinary tract infection - Painful urinating, going more often, foul smell.
  • If your child shows signs of dehydration - Not crying tears, a dry mouth and dry diapers for 12-24 hours.
  • If your child shows skin symptoms - A rash that doesn’t go away when you press on it, new and unexplained bruising, painful red swelling on one or more joints.

Most childhood fevers are caused by viruses and will go away on their own. Most children with fevers can wait overnight and be seen by their doctor in the morning. However, if your “gut feeling” is that your child is too sick to wait, please take them to the closest emergency department.

Page Last Modified: 08/28/2013
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