When to seek emergency care
Seek emergency care for:
- Bleeding that can't be stopped
- Increasing difficulty breathing
- Any change in consciousness, confusion, a bad headache or vomiting several times after a head injury
- Unconsciousness, acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert
- Large or deep cuts or burns or smoke inhalation
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple or gray
- Increasing or severe persistent pain
- Major mouth or facial injuries
- Near drowning
Prepare for emergencies in advance by asking your baby's doctor during a checkup what to do and where to go if your baby needs emergency care. Learn basic first aid, including CPR, and keep emergency phone numbers and addresses handy.
Be ready to answer questions
Be prepared to help the medical staff understand what's happening with your baby. Expect questions about:
- Your baby's symptoms. What prompted you to seek medical attention for your baby? What are your specific concerns?
- Your baby's medical history. Does your baby have any known allergies? Are your baby's immunizations current? Does your baby have any chronic conditions? Be prepared to share details about your pregnancy and the baby's birth.
- Changes in your baby's feeding and bowel movements. Have you noticed changes in your baby's eating or drinking patterns, in the number of wet diapers, or in the number, volume or consistency of bowel movements?
- Changes in your baby's temperature. What's your baby's temperature? How did you take it and at what time?
- Home remedies and medications. Have you tried any home remedies or given your baby any over-the-counter or prescription medications? If so, what, how much and when? If you suspect your child ingested poison or medications, bring the bottle with you.
- Possible exposures. Is anyone ill among your household contacts or, if relevant, at your baby's child care center? Have you traveled with your baby recently?
Before you contact your baby's doctor, make sure you're prepared to jot down any instructions. Have your pharmacy's contact information ready, too.
Being prepared will save you and your baby's doctor time during a phone call, office visit or emergency situation.
Sept. 20, 2016
See more In-depth
- Schmitt BD. In: Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 15th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2016.
- When to call the baby's doctor: Print-and-go guide. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/childbirth-beyond/newbon-care-safety.html. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.
- Shelov SP, et al. Emergencies. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam; 2014.