Management of childhood emergencies

Once the summer season arrives, many children spend most of the time outdoors to enjoy the weather and time away from school. When children are more active, they are at risk for a number of potential injuries that can be considered as emergencies.

Many children are taken to the emergency department, usually below the age of 18 years old. Most of these emergency visits occur in the summer compared with the rest of the year. These can be minor injuries such as wounds or even major cases such as poisoning.

Remember that a trip to the emergency department for an injured or sick child does not have to be scary experience. It is the responsibility of the guardian or parent to prepare for the visit in advance and what to do during emergencies.

Considerations to bear in mind when bringing a child to the emergency department

Childhood emergencies
Many children are taken to the emergency department, usually below the age of 18 years old.
  • For life-threatening situations, it is recommended to call for emergency assistance right away. In case it is safe to drive, stay calm and drive carefully.
  • Always plan ahead. Try to determine the nearest emergency department and how to go there in case of an emergency.
  • When communicating to the emergency staff, it must be done in a clear manner. Remember that good communication will allow the process to run smoothly.
  • Bring the immunization records of the child and the contact information of all doctors or physicians who cared for the child.
  • Bring along the list of the medications and allergies of the child.
  • You have to provide consent-to-treat forms for those who are taking care of your child such as the babysitter, guardian as well as school nurse or daycare provider.
  • You have to explain to the child what is happening. Be sensitive to the scenario and the age of the child, but be honest at all times. Continue to communicate with the child by explaining what might be confusing to them and reassure that the emergency team is there to help. Additionally, let the child know that it is okay for the doctor to examine him/her.
  • Do not provide the child with anything to drink or eat when taking him/her to the emergency department. If the child has a condition that entails evaluation or specific form of treatment, the child might require medications or sedatives. The doctor will recommend when it is okay for the child to drink or eat.
  • Try to bring along a sleep-over bag in case the child is admitted to the hospital. The bag should include clothes, pajamas and favorite items such as a blanket, toy, a book or a stuffed animal.
  • Always stay calm. Take note that children observe the signals given by the adults. If you are panicked and impatient, the child will most likely be the same. Try not to add tension to an already strained scenario.

Bringing a child to the emergency department is a task that most parents dread. On the other hand, being prepared both physically and mentally to bring a child to the emergency department can help make a difficult scenario a lot easier to manage.

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