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When to take a child for medical care

Tips from Nurse Shirley

When do I go take my child to the doctor, the urgent care center or, the emergency room?

When your child needs health care, everything matters. Here are some guidelines to help you better understand when to seek appropriate care. If you think your child has a medical emergency or life-threatening condition, always call EMS at 911. If you think someone is poisoned, call the Poison Control Center at 1800-222-1222.

*As a parent, find and take a CPR and First aid class in your area.

The recommendations are to call your child’s doctor/ pediatrician or family practice physician for:

  • Earache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Unidentified rash or skin eruption
  • Unchecked diarrhea 
  • Bleeding that will not  stop
  • See your doctor for concerns about chronic health issues. Your doctor will direct you where to go.

Call your doctor (if available) or try the Urgent care for:

  • Ear infections
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Minor cuts
  • Burns
  • Sprains
  • Simple fractures
  • Try your doctor first if his/her office is open. For weekends and evenings, head to the urgent care center.

Head for the emergency room for:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Sudden blurred or lost vision
  • Head trauma or sudden confusion
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Abdominal pain

Keep in mind these are guidelines and not hard- fast rules.  As the parent, you know your child best. Our hope is to help clarify the choice for the appropriate health care providers.

Submitted by Shirley Fisher RN, CSN

Exempts from American Academy of Pediatrics and Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Kansas

*American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and Lifesaver Learning in Wichita offer CPR and First aid classes.