Having children can be a lot of work. We are suddenly in charge of keeping this tiny human alive, and it can be hard to know the difference between when they need medical attention right away, or when they just need some cold medicine and a long nap.
The internet is certainly no help with this either, we usually think “Oh I’ll just go onto Google and that will tell me what to do,” but nine times out of ten this ends up being a huge mistake. A lot of other people like to tell you to just trust your gut instinct when it comes to your children, but if you are a parent, then you know that it is not always as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of problems that we run into with our kids like, mystery rashes that won’t seem to go away, runny noses that won’t stop, high fevers that scare us, and hard falls that look worse than they actually are.
So, how do we know which of things is no big deal, and when we need to put a call to 911? Well, we have compiled a list of 10 situations in which you would definitely want to call 911, and 5 where there is no need to worry at all, in order to try to help ease some stress of trying to figure out what to do when the time comes.
15 Skin Looks Blue
A baby turning blue is something that no parent ever wants to experience, it is a scary thing to go through, and in the heat of the moment we can panic and forget what to do. If your baby is turning blue on any part of their body, but especially on their lips and face, then 911 needs to be called right away.
This is a sure sign that, for whatever reason, your baby or child is not getting enough oxygen.
This could be due to an underlying medical condition, or they could be choking on something, whatever the case may be, the 911 operator will usually instruct the parent calling to administer CPR in hopes of getting some oxygen to the baby, while they wait for the ambulance to arrive. It is important in moments like these to remember not to panic, and to handle things smoothly and in a calm fashion, in order to provide your child with the best chance possible.
14 Hives Accompanied With Other Symptoms
Allergic reactions are no joke, they can range from mild to severe, and can oftentimes be life threatening. This is why it is so important to be able to recognize when your child’s allergic reaction is an emergency or something that can be solved with a little Benadryl. If your child develops a rash in the form of hives, becomes itchy, red, or even swollen, accompanied by vomiting, and shallow breathing, then this is a sign that you should call 911 as fast as possible.
If you already have an EpiPen on hand, then now would be a good time to administer it while you wait for the EMTs to arrive. Allergic reactions this severe often times lead to difficulty breathing and can even be fatal, which is a scary thing for any parent to experience.
13 It Keeps Coming Up
Like with a few other things on this list, vomiting in and of itself is not a reason to call 911, but uncontrollable vomiting could be. If your child is vomiting to the point where they physically can not stop, start hyperventilating, become dehydrated, weak, or even faint, then 911 might be a good idea.
There can be many reasons for a child to vomit, some of them being as simple as a 24 hour stomach bug to something more serious.
Of course, if your child begins to vomit you are going to be worried regardless of how serious it is, and usually a call to their pediatrician is all that you need. It is important to recognize, in cases like this, when vomiting is a cause for concern and when your child is just being dramatic, or really struggling.
12 Got Into Household Cleaners
Household cleaners can be very dangerous, and the number one rule of parenting is to make sure that things like these are out of reach of children at all times. However, accidents do occur, and we are not here to patronize parents who this has happened to in the past because it only takes a second for things like this to happen. If your child does get into some household cleaners, for whatever reason, and you know for a fact they have ingested it then 911 should be called.
Odds are that your child will need their stomach pumped, among other things, and hopefully, help gets to you fast enough. Another way that this could turn into an emergency is if they got certain cleaners on their skin, because this can lead to some pretty serious chemical burns, which would need immediate attention.
11 The Nose That Won't Stop
Nosebleeds occur all the time, especially in small children who like to stick their little fingers in places that they do not belong. It is a totally normal thing that happens whether you have picked too hard, or have just been exposed to very dry air, this is because of how close your blood vessels are to the surface of your skin inside of your nose.
However, if a child gets a nosebleed that will not stop no matter what you do, they are losing a significant amount of blood, or start to feel woozy, or even faint, then 911 should be called to get them the proper treatment as fast as possible. Nosebleeds like this are very rare, but they can occur, so it is important to know the difference between your regular nosebleed, and one that signals a medical emergency.
10 A Hard Fall
Children fall all the time, especially when they are first learning how to walk. These little ones seem to be accident-prone, and that can be a very stressful thing to deal with, always having to be watching their every move. When your child takes a fall, it can be kind of scary, but it isn’t always an emergency situation. If your kid takes a pretty hard fall and loses consciousness then 911 should definitely be called.
Their loss of consciousness could be the result of a concussion, or possibly even something much more serious. Not all falls are a cause for concern, but falls like these certainly are, and they should never be taken lightly. Typically, with a fall like this, you might not want to move your child until help arrives, because in some rare cases this could lead to even more issues.
Seizures can happen for so many reasons, and a lot of times doctors aren’t even able to determine why a seizure took place. If your child ever has a seizure, you might not recognize it as a seizure right away, you might be taken back by the shock of it all and unsure of what to do. Seizures are no joke, and they are very scary to witness, especially in children.
If your child suddenly drops to the ground and is shaking uncontrollably, then they are more than likely experiencing a seizure.
It is important that you try to make sure that they are either lying on their stomachs or sides, and that there is nothing dangerous around them. Parents should also time the seizure if they can, of course calling 911 is a priority here, but the time at which they went down needs to be noted.
8 Obstructed Airways
If your child is truly choking then they may not be able to cough or make any sounds at all, this can be really scary to deal with, and your first reaction as a parent might be to try to get whatever is in your child’s throat out.
Sometimes, however, things can become lodged pretty far down in the throat, and we are unable to get them out ourselves.
This is when it is time to put a call to 911 so that a trained medical professional can safely free your child’s airway. Let’s be honest, children love to stick things in their mouths, and we can not have our eyes on them every minute of every day (no matter how hard we try to). Accidents happen to the best of us, which is why is it so important to know how to deal with situations like these when they arise.
7 High Temperatures
When it comes to a child’s temperature it can be hard to know what is serious, and what just warrants some children’s Tylenol. In children under three months of age, a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher warrants a trip to the doctor and in children older than that their temperature should not exceed 102.00 degrees.
A fever in and of itself is not usually a reason to put in a call to 911, however, if the fever is very high and your child seems limp, weak, or faints, then a call to 911 couldn’t hurt. In fact, it could be the difference between life and death. They say a temperature above 104.00 degrees is when the brain begins to be affected, so it is always better safe than sorry.
6 Difficulty Breathing
Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, swell, and produce mucus, making it hard for them to breathe. A person’s asthma can be anywhere from mild to severe. Sometimes, all they need is a little puff on an inhaler to reopen their airways and feel better, but sometimes it can also become life-threatening.
If you suspect that your child is having an asthma attack, or if they have a history of these attacks and are now having trouble breathing, then you might want to call 911. You would especially want to call 911 if one of these attacks occur and you do not have an inhaler on hand, because the longer that your child is unable to breathe, the grimmer that things could turn out to be.
5 Common Cold - Don't Panic
This next one should be a no-brainer, but in case you didn’t know, the common cold is no big deal at all. Of course, some parents do struggle with telling the differences between whether or not their child has a cold or the flu, and as parents, our minds usually jump to the worst conclusion, but a runny nose and sore throat is usually nothing to worry about.
If these symptoms arise, parents should administer cold medicine, get a humidifier going, provide their child with some Vicks, and wait it out.
However, if they would like a peace of mind, they could put in a call to the doctor for a professional opinion. The common cold should resolve in about a weeks time, and is more of a pain in the behind than it is something to be concerned about.
4 A Light Fall - Don't Panic
Children fall all the time, in fact they do it very often, and it is always scary to a parent when they see their child fall. Parents can find a little comfort in knowing that their children’s falls usually look a lot worse than they actually are, and moms should know to keep calm when their child falls because often times when a child sees their parent overreacting to a situation they will do the same.
If the parent stays calm, however, it can be much easier to assess how your child is actually feeling. If a child hits their head when they fall, it is obviously going to be upsetting, and these falls usually look pretty nasty. The kid who fell will often times develop an ugly looking bump or bruise on their head, which might make some parents think that they need to go to the hospital right away, but don’t head out that door just yet. First, you should monitor your child, if they do not lose consciousness, are not vomiting, and don’t seem to be acting different from normal, then they should be perfectly fine.
3 The Flu - Don't Panic
The flu can be a scary thing to deal with, there is no doubt about that, especially when every flu season we hear scary stories about people dying of it. Those cases of children dying of the flu that we hear about are rare, however, and so while they may cause some amount of fear and panic in parents, we should all remember that it is rare. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu.
The flu feels much worse than a cold and is accompanied by a fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting.
Of course, a call to the pediatrician for this wouldn't hurt, but it is in no way a reason to call 911, unless your child ends up in distress. The flu usually takes about a week to two weeks to get better, and it can usually be taken care of at home with some Tylenol cold and flu.
2 Nosebleeds - Don't Panic
We have already talked about how a nosebleed can be a bad thing, and when it would signal a call to 911, but now we should talk about when a nosebleed is no big deal, and will stop on its own. Seeing blood from any part of your child, whether it be a small scrape or a gaping wound, is always very concerning for a parent. We already know that little kids are big nose pickers, and their little noses bleed all the time, so it should not come as that big of a shock when this does happen.
A common misconception that people have is to have their child tilt their head back until the bleeding stops, but that is just making all the blood rush down the back of their throats. Instead, you should have them blow their nose until the bleeding stops, it might seem like a lot of blood, but that is only because you are used to having the liquid go down their throats. If you have them blow it will stop much faster, and if the bleeding stops, then it was no big deal.
1 Rashes - Don't Panic
Rashes can certainly be a cause for concern among parents, but they happen so often, and for so many reasons, that it usually ends up just being no big deal. The three main causes for a rash developing on your child are an allergic reaction, a viral rash, and prickly heat.
If your child does not appear to be in distress, and they are not bothered by the rash, then it is safe to say that this rash is harmless.
However, if your child is bothered by the rash, or it is accompanied by other symptoms, then a call to their doctor is in order. Our advice to you would be not to google the rash either, because that just leads to unnecessary panic and self-diagnoses that are almost always wrong.