Pediatric Essentials is a blog for parents and caregivers who need information quickly to be able to identify and be prepared for pediatric health emergencies. Very young children are at a higher risk for complications because they cannot properly describe how they feel or when their bodies aren’t functional as normal. New parents have even more concerns as they navigate their way through the health and safety of the needs of an infant. It can be daunting.
This series will help you deal with those times when you need information right away. Some pediatric emergencies require a call to 911, others are not so obvious as to whether they are an emergency or not. We want to be a trusted resource for you in helping to identify those symptoms in your child, getting the right help in an emergency, and knowing when to head to the emergency room. Below, we have Associate Director and RN Dave Barrett share his personal experience dealing with medical emergencies and the importance of being prepared. Here at Elite Care, we not only educate our community on handling emergencies and when to seek emergency care, but we also offer complimentary CPR classes on a monthly bases.
When to see a doctor as soon as possible according to age and temperature
- Age 2-3 Months: 100.4+
- Age 3 Months 100.4+ with other symptoms – Vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing
- Age 3 Months with a fever of 100.4+ and not responding to medication such as Tylenol or Motrin
What Parents Need to Know About Fever and Your Child
A sick child who is presenting symptoms of fever needs immediate attention. What you use to take the child’s temperature and their age plays a part in attaining accurate results.
Digital Thermometers are the only kind of thermometers recommended by doctors for pediatric use. You can purchase a digital thermometer at any drug store or supermarket. These thermometers can be used on children of all ages as well as adults. Be sure to wash with soap and clean and dry the thermometer thoroughly before use.
Digital thermometers are designed for use in the following ways:
- Rectal (in the bottom) — the most accurate method for children under 3 years old. Rectal applications may be more comfortable with the use of a lubricant such as petroleum jelly.
- Oral (in the mouth) — best for kids 4–5 years or older who can cooperate.
- Axillary (under the arm) — the least accurate
- digital thermometer, but good for a first check.
Reasons for Pediatric Fever
Infection is the most common cause of fever in children. Common viral and bacterial illnesses are the most likely illnesses to cause fever. These include:
- Flu Virus
- Ear Infections
- Urinary Tract Infections
Because we are experiencing a virus pandemic where fever is a prevalent observable symptom, being sure rather than “waiting out” your child’s symptoms is not recommended.
If your child is crying more than normal or fussy, won’t eat, exhibits gastrointestinal symptoms, a fever in addition to these symptoms is an indicator that something more serious is going on.
A late-night fever when your pediatrician is closed may require an emergency room visit. Children are more susceptible to complications from fever and can escalate more quickly than in an adult.
Proper Treatment and Follow-Up
Once the physician has examined your child and makes a diagnosis, it’s important to follow up with treatment at home. Follow directions on prescribed medicine. Make sure to administer plenty of fluids and if necessary, a cool damp washcloth can help regain a level of comfort until the fever subsides.
Our facility is open 24/7, 365 days of the year and we have on-staff Board Certified Physicians who are trained to treat pediatric emergencies. Our pediatric suites are designed to put your child at ease with amenities such as welcoming painted murals, plush take-home animals, and high-quality bedding and linens you won’t find at large city hospital ER’s. We also see your child without a long wait which means a quicker response of comfort and care.
Falls, sports injuries, head trauma, and broken bones are all part of life in active families. We’ll make sure you have ways to identify and treat minor physical injuries and when to head to the ER with your child. Our ER facilities can quickly get your child to imaging and proper treatment when time is of the essence. We’ll help parents know when a physical trauma is life-threatening.
Cuts and scrapes are part of every child’s life experience. From their first “boo boo” to skinned knees, parents are always on guard when a fall or cut results in bleeding. We’ll help you know when a band-aid is an appropriate remedy or if stitches and even a tetanus shot should be a part of treatment for a child with a bleeding open wound.
Gastrointestinal / Vomiting / Diarrhea
There are many things that can cause a child to experience stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Parents need to know when these symptoms are a signal to something more serious. Functional gastrointestinal disorders are a common reason to head to the doctor. We’ll discuss some of the more common symptoms seen in pediatric patients (functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, functional abdominal pain) as well as one of the more puzzling (cyclic vomiting).
Breathing / Coughing
Parents now more than ever are hypervigilant when it comes to troubled breathing in their child. There are many environmental reasons that can cause breathing and coughing in children. We’ve learned that it can be a serious symptom to viral illness such as COVID19. Asthma, croup, bronchitis and pneumonia are also serious conditions that can be life threatening. Every parent should have pediatric CPR training in case of a pediatric respiratory emergency. Our facility offers free CPR training. Class schedules can be found on our website. We want to help parents be ready for any pediatric respiratory emergency and education is a big part of how we can do this.
More on pediatric essentials
Know When to Go
These are just a few of the possible pediatric health emergencies that parents face. We want to provide you with resources and fast, compassionate, complete care whether it’s having a viable first-aid kit on hand to deciding when to make a visit to the Emergency Room. Our ER is set up to accommodate busy families who need an immediate response to a pediatric emergency. We look forward to being partners in the health of your family and hope you’ll visit our blog often for helpful, life-saving information.
Our staff of Board-Certified Physicians are trained specifically to treat pediatric emergencies. Our pediatric suites are designed to put your child at ease with amenities such as welcoming painted murals, plush take-home animals and high-quality bedding and linens you won’t find at large, busy city hospital ER’s. We also see your child without a long wait which means a quicker response to pain and discomfort. Most importantly, we are here 24/7 every day of the year, including holidays when most primary care physicians are closed.
We’re invested in your health and look forward to serving you should you have a pediatric emergency requiring immediate care.
Register for one of our complimentary CPR classes!
“How to Take Your Child’s Temperature (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by Joanne Murren-Boezem, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Sept. 2018, kidshealth.org/en/parents/take-temperature.html.
Ward, Mark A. “Patient Education: Fever in Children.” UpToDate, 23 Mar. 2020, www.uptodate.com/contents/fever-in-children-beyond-the-basics.