There are few things more frightening than having to take your child to the hospital with a serious illness or injury. But you can rest assured that your child is receiving the highest quality care when you take him or her to a pediatric emergency room (ER).
Pediatric or kid-friendly ERs are unique in that they are staffed with physicians who are specially trained to care for pediatric emergencies. These practitioners are trained to take care of kids first – while also treating the emergency at hand. Pediatric ERs provide comfort for kids – for example, using child-sized medical equipment, offering painless IV starts and blood draws, providing distraction carts with activities to help put children at ease and comfortable, family-friendly waiting areas. At Edward-Elmhurst, child life specialists explain procedures to kids and make sure they are comfortable during their stay.
Edward-Elmhurst recommends establishing a relationship with a pediatrician or family medicine physician and to consult him or her first with medical questions or needs. But in some cases, it’s not possible to see your child’s doctor first. For these situations, you may need to visit the ER.
How do you know you need to go to the ER instead of waiting to see your pediatrician? I tell parents they know their child best. If he or she is acting out of the ordinary, has uncontrollable bleeding, difficulty breathing, is very pale, has a high fever, appears dehydrated (no tears when crying, dry diaper) or is sluggish, it’s time to seek care. Trauma and high fever are the top reasons kids visit the ER. Other common reasons include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain and vomiting.
When going to the ER, you should bring your child’s medical history and a medications and allergies list. If your child is currently taking any medications, make sure you bring those along as well.
Upon arriving at the ER, you’ll check in first before being brought to a room. A nurse will then go through what happened, when it happened, symptoms and medications as well as take your child’s blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Specially trained board-certified physicians will then see your child and determine next steps, such as additional testing, treatment or appropriate medication.
As the parent, you are also your child’s advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request more information. It’s important that we work together so your child receives the best care possible and that, as parents, you understand what is happening and why.
Edward-Elmhurst’s pediatric emergency locations include the Pediatric Emergency Department at Edward Hospital in Naperville – the first of its kind in DuPage County. We also have Kid-Friendly ERs at Elmhurst Hospital and on our Edward Plainfield campus. To learn more, call 630-527-6363 or visit our website.