Children are active, curious, and naïve. They always seem to pick up germs, bump into things, and touch things they shouldn’t.
Most of the time, kids bounce back from illness and the occasional accident with no issue. However, knowing when to care for your child at home and when to seek emergency medical attention is tough for a parent.
The best advice we can provide is to trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone; if something doesn’t seem right, it’s always better to head to the ER.
But knowing the most common reasons, kids visit the ER is always helpful.
Top Reasons Children Visit the Emergency Room
Every year there are some 30 million pediatric emergency visits. Of these, 40% involve children under 5. While reasons why children visit the ER vary, these are some of the most common causes.
A traumatic brain injury can happen anytime there is a direct blow or jolt to the head. They are usually the result of falls or direct hits while practicing sports.
Head injuries can be mild, like bumps, or more severe, like concussions and skull fractures. You should bring your child to the ER if you notice any of the following symptoms after a head trauma:
- Loss of consciousness
- Vision problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble interacting
- Trouble staying awake
- Unexplained changes in mood
Sprains, Strains, and Broken Bones
Musculoskeletal injuries are among the top reasons kids visit us in the ER.
Sprains: Sprains involve the stretching or tearing of ligaments – tough, flexible bands connecting two bones. –
Symptoms of a sprain include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Joint stiffness
Strains: This type of injury affects the muscles and tendons – fibrous tissue that connects the muscle to a bone or joint. –
Symptoms of a severe strain
- Extreme pain or tenderness
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Limited motion
Broken Bones: Most broken bones happen when kids fall, but can also occur while playing sports. Symptoms of a broken bone include:
- Pain or tenderness around the injured area
- Visible deformity – a limb or joint looks out of place, or the bone has punctured through the skin
A high fever is always a cause for concern, especially if they don’t respond to over-the-counter medication.
Please bring your child to the ER if they have a fever:
- Infants under three months with a fever of 100.4°F
- Baby or toddler up to 3 years with a fever of 102.2°F
- Children 3 and up with a persistent fever of 102°F or higher that lasts two or more days
Please rush to the nearest ER if your child has a fever accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Skin rash
- Difficulty waking up
- Little or no urine
- No tears when crying
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Unable to keep fluids down
- Stiff neck
Asthma, bronchitis, and the flu are common reasons children visit the ER. Severe asthma attacks, bronchitis, and complications from the flu can make breathing difficult and thus require medical attention.
If your child is struggling to breathe or you notice any of the following symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention:
- Barking cough
- Wheezing while breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Blueish color around their mouth
Rapid ER has the expertise and caring staff to care for your ailing child. Remember, we are open 24/7 and available to help you and your family when you need us.