What to Expect If You Take Your Child to the ER

You never want to be in a situation where you have to take your child to the emergency room, but sometimes it’s inevitable. There are a variety of reasons children most often go to the ER.

For example, sports accidents and injuries, deep cuts and lacerations, illnesses and high fevers, and ingesting certain things are all reasons that a child might need to go to the ER.

Regardless of the reason, the emergency room can come with many unexpected things that you have to consider. For example, you’re not just going to receive one bill, pay it, and be done with it. Medical bills can trickle in sporadically for a long time, from different contractors who work in the hospital.

Aside from that, the following are things to know and expect if you take your child to the ER.

Go To a Children’s Hospital If Possible

If you believe your child needs to go to the ER, it’s best to go to a children’s hospital if there’s one close to you.

It’s a good idea to talk to your child’s doctor before you ever actually have to visit an emergency room, to learn which one they recommend.

A children’s hospital is focused on dealing with kids’ issues, and they’re going to have the best staff, specialists, and technology to deal specifically with the needs of kids.

If you don’t have a children’s hospital, go to your nearest hospital, and if it turns out specialty care is needed, they can then arrange a transfer.

If your child isn’t in life-threatening danger, you might want to contact your pediatrician before you go to the ER. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you in their opinion whether or not a trip to the emergency room is needed.

If your child has uncontrolled breathing, loses consciousness, or could have a neck or spine injury, call 911 for an ambulance. Don’t try to drive to the ER in these situations.

Treat Fevers But Don’t Give Other Food and Drink

Before you go to the ER, you don’t need to hold off on treating a high fever. You can go ahead and give your child medicine in most cases.

You should, however, hold off on food and drink. Your child may need a blood test or a CT scan, and if they have food or drink too soon beforehand, it can mess that up.

What Happens When You Get There?

When you get to the ER, how long you wait can depend not only on how many other people are there but the severity of what’s going on with your child.

If your child is facing a severe issue, they will be seen first.

After you get to the ER, you will probably go through the triage process. During this time, a nurse will see you and your child and do an assessment. This is when they’ll prioritize how quickly a doctor should see your child.

You’ll also have to go through a registration process. You’ll sign off on consent forms for treatment, and if you have insurance, this is the time the hospital staff will collect that information.

Try to Keep Your Child Calm

Going to the emergency room can be very stressful for a child. Try to keep yourself calm so you can, in turn, keep your child calm.

If the doctors have to take blood or do anything that might hurt or upset your child further, you can ask if there are any options to reduce the pain, such as numbing the area.

Document Information While You’re There

Being in the ER is overwhelming not only for your child but for you as well. You should write down any information because it’s likely you’ll forget it when things calm down.

Document the names of the doctors you speak to, what they say about your child’s injury or illness, and details of treatment. You should also take notes on follow-up care.

If there’s something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.

If you don’t understand something with medications your child is being prescribed or dosages, again ask while you’re there. It’s going to be hard to get the information later on.

Finally, anytime your child visits the hospital, you should follow up with your child’s pediatrician. Sometimes the ER will let pediatricians know, but make sure this happens. The ER may send a report to your pediatrician as well, and then your child’s doctor can let you know if a follow-up exam is needed in their office.

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