When to seek emergency care
Seek emergency care for:
- Bleeding that can't be stopped
- Increasing difficulty breathing
- Head injuries
- Unconsciousness or decreasing responsiveness
- Large cuts or burns
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple or gray
- Increasing or severe persistent pain
Prepare for emergencies by asking your baby's doctor during a scheduled 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 handy.
Be ready to answer questions
Whether you contact your baby's doctor or seek emergency care, 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. Does your baby have a fever? What's your baby's temperature? How did you take your baby's temperature? At what time did you take your baby's temperature?
- 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?
Also, before you contact your baby's doctor, make sure you're prepared to jot down any instructions. Be sure to have your pharmacy's contact information ready, too.
Being prepared will save you and your baby's doctor time — and stress — during a phone call, office visit or emergency situation.
Feb. 08, 2014
See more In-depth
- Jana LA, et al. Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. 2nd ed. Elk Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics. 2011:1.
- When to call the baby's doctor: Print-and-go guide. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/when-call-baby-doctor.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam; 2009:138.
- Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 14th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012:120.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 31, 2013.