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When to Call 911: 7 Emergencies in Children

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    In infants and toddlers, a rapid rise in temperature can cause a febrile seizure. Most seizures associated with fever end quickly and are not necessarily emergencies. However, any child who is having new seizures should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. After a doctor has evaluated your child for seizures, any recurrent seizures should be reported by phone to the doctor to make sure nothing more serious is happening that would require further evaluation.

    When to Call 911:

    • The seizure doesn't stop after three to five minutes.
    • The child has labored breathing or is turning blue.
    • Your child's normal mental state does not return after the seizure.

    5. Falls

    Falling from a significant height can injure the head, spine, or internal organs. If you suspect a head injury, talk to your child and make sure he or she answers questions appropriately.

    When to Call 911:

    • The child vomits more than once.
    • He or she loses consciousness.
    • The child complains of numbness or tingling.
    • You suspect internal injuries.
    • You suspect an injury to the neck or spine.

    In the case of a potential injury to the neck or spine, do not attempt to move your child. The paramedics will immobilize the spine before taking your child to the hospital.

    6. Cuts/Bleeding

    If your child is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound and assess the extent of the damage. Children who need stitches can usually be taken to the hospital or urgent care center by car.

    When to Call 911:

    • There is a known bleeding disorder.
    • You're unable to stop the bleeding.

    7. Possible Poisoning

    It's a frightening scenario -- your child has gotten into the medicine cabinet or your supply of household cleaners. The first thing to do is call Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222. The poison center experts can assess a situation and dispense advice quickly.

    When to Call 911:

    • The child is unresponsive.
    • Poison Control advises it.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 12, 2014
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