When to call for emergency health providers in case of a child medical emergency

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When the child is not responding, call emergency service

When you have a child medical emergency, it is always important to know what to do.  Knowing when to call 99 or take any other step is crucial for emergencies such as serious falls or breathing problems. At such situations, it is normal to get anxious, but you should always try to remain calm in order to handle the situation in the best way possible. This article provides guidelines on common medical emergencies facing children and the level in which you should call 999 or any other medical emergency services.

Respiratory distress

This is a medical emergency that involves difficulty in breathing whereby the child fails to take in enough oxygen. This problem may be caused by asthma, pneumonia, chocking or any other infection. Symptoms of respiratory distress include wheezing, coughing, labored breathing or grunting.


When to call for child medical emergency

  • The child is turning blue around the mouth.
  • The condition is getting worse instead of improving.
  • The rate is breathing is greater than 50-60 breaths per minute.

Broken bones

Children are at a higher risk of suffering from broken bones compared to adults. Despite that the injuries may not be life threatening, the child should be taken to a hospital emergency department for check up.  Call for emergency when:

  • The bone is protruding out of the skin.
  • There is trauma to the neck and head.
  • The break is too severe that you cannot relieve the pain.



Diarrhea and vomiting will require emergency if a child gets dehydrated. Sign of dehydration includes dry mucus membrane, sunken eyes and low amount of urine. You should call child medical emergency services if:

  • There is unrelenting abdominal pain or severe cramping.
  • The child does not respond.


Convulsions and fits

If an infant or toddler suffers from a rapid rise in temperature, this may cause a febrile seizure.  Most of the seizures caused by fever end up quickly and may not be emergencies. However, if the child develops labored breathing, turns blue or the seizure fails to stop within four to five minutes, then it is advisable to call for emergency.


If your child falls from a significant height, he or she may get head, spine or internal organs injury. If you suspect that your child has sustained a head injury, talk to him or her and see whether she can answer the questions appropriately. Call for child medical emergency help if you notice the following:

·         More than one instance of vomiting

·         Lose of consciousness.

·         If you suspect head, spine or neck injury.

·         If the child complains of tingling or numbness.

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