When to Visit the Emergency Room


As your child’s health provider, we want to be involved as much as possible in your child’s health.   During office hours, we ask that you call us first before seeking care in all but life threatening emergencies.  Keep in mind that treatment in an emergency department can cost several times more than the same care our in office and potentially expose your child to other infectious illnesses.  Our staff will do their best to accommodate same day appointments for urgent illnesses and injuries.

If your child has an illness or injury that occurs after hours and needs after hour care, please call our office to have the doctor or nurse on call paged to discuss your child’s symptoms.  The majority of the time, your child’s illness or injury can be managed at home. 

Occasionally there may be situations where it is necessary to get immediate care for your child.  The following should serve as a guide on when to seek immediate care and when to call and discuss your child with an on call doctor or nurse. 

Situations needing immediate care

A life threatening emergency is a situation where your child could die or become permanently disabled. 

Call 911 for the following situations:

  • Choking
  • Child is not breathing or has turned blue
  • Head injury and your child is unconscious
  • Injury to neck or spine
  • Severe burn
  • Seizure that last more than 5 minutes
  • Bleeding that can’t be stopped 
  • Severe difficulty breathing

Go to an emergency department for the following situations:

  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling, hives
  • High fever with headache and stiff neck
  • Suddenly hard to wake up, too sleepy, confused
  • Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk, or move
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Deep wound
  • Serious burn
  • Coughing or throwing up blood
  • Possible broken bone, loss of movement, especially if the bone is pushing through the skin
  • A body part near an injured bone is numb, tingling, weak, cold, or pale
  • Fast heartbeat that doesn’t slow down
  • Your child has been throwing up and now has a dry mouth, is not crying tears, has not urinated in over 8 hours, or is acting very sleepy/out of it.
  • Your child is under the age of 2 months and has a rectal temperature greater than 100.4