When to take your baby to the emergency room

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A sick child is always a source of concern and anxiety for the parent. In urgent situations or in the impossibility of contacting your pediatrician, the Emergency Department represents the reference structure, open 24 hours a day, able to offer complete assistance.

The emergency room should not be confused with a pediatric clinic and does not replace the family pediatrician who should be consulted, if possible and at least by telephone, before going to the emergency room. Simeup, Society of the Paesena of Emergency and Pediatric Urgency, has drawn up a guide with 16 situations requiring a visit to the emergency room in case of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, head injury, headache or difficulty breathing.

In this article

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • headache and breathing difficulties

In case of fever:

  1. in infants less than three months of age if it was not possible to have a visit to the pediatrician
  2. in older children if the fever is high, persistent, responds poorly to antipyretic therapy and is associated with a state of suffering and compromised general conditions
  3. if the child has seizures in the presence of fever, especially if younger than one year.

In case of vomiting:

  1.  the child needs urgent care if he has repeated vomiting and is unable to drink fluids, especially if younger than 1 year
  2. if you have other symptoms that can lead to dehydration such as fever and numerous bouts of diarrhea
  3. if in addition to vomiting it presents: dry skin and oral mucosa, circled eyes, lack of tears, reduced urine output;
  4. if you have been vomiting and not having a bowel movement for 24 hours, especially if you are less than 1 year old
  5. if the vomit is frankly blood or dark green or coffee-like in color

In case of diarrhea:

  1.  if you have repeated diarrhea and are unable to take fluids (vomiting), especially if you are younger than 1 year
  2. if you have diarrhea for more than 24 hours with more than 5-6 discharges a day and are not drinking fluids or have signs of dehydration
  3. frankly bloody diarrhea or "jelly" -type blood only

In case of abdominal pain (i.e. abdominal pain):

  1.  if you have not evacuated for more than 24 hours, you have vomiting, low-grade fever and if the pain is localized in the lower right regions of the abdomen (appendicular region)
  2. if you have abdominal pain in the hours following trauma to the affected region

In case of head injury:

14 if the child has lost consciousness at the moment of impact (emotional head injury), or has vomiting, a few hours after the injury, with a tendency to fall asleep, with inconsolable crying, strabismus, difficulty walking, headache

In case of headache, i.e. headache:

  •  if accompanied by fever and / or vomiting and does not regress with the administration of common antifebrile and / or painkillers

In case of breathing difficulties:

  •  children, especially if under the age of one year, with respiratory difficulties must all be taken urgently to the emergency room if the cause is not known and you do not have a doctor's prescription (for example known asthma).

In Del Paese, five million children are visited in the emergency room every year

Five million children are taken to the emergency room every year. In 10% of cases they are yellow and red codes (cases of real emergency and urgency, while the green codes (the urgencies considered minor in the triage phase) represent 60-70% of accesses. " half can be considered appropriate access due to the need to exclude serious complications or evolutions of the disease - says Urbino, President of the Del Paesena Society for Pediatric Emergency and Urgency (SIMEUP) -, while the remaining half of these accesses are inappropriate and can create inefficiencies that can hinder assistance to those who really need it. "This is why it is important to understand when to go and when not. (The special on pediatric first aid)

Source: Ospedale Bambino Gesù, when to take the child to the emergency room and Simeup


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