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Sick baby? When to seek medical attention
When to seek emergency care
Seek emergency care for:
- Bleeding that can't be stopped
- Trouble breathing
- Head injuries
- A sudden lack of energy or inability to move
- Large cuts or burns
- Neck stiffness
- Blood in the urine, bloody diarrhea or persistent diarrhea
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple or gray
Prepare for emergencies by asking your baby's doctor during a scheduled checkup what to do and where to go if your baby needs emergency care. Learn basic first aid, including CPR, and keep emergency phone numbers handy.
Be ready to answer questions
Whether you contact your baby's doctor or seek emergency care, be prepared to help the medical staff understand what's happening with your baby. Expect questions about:
- Your baby's symptoms. What prompted you to seek medical attention for your baby? What are your specific concerns?
- Your baby's medical history. Does your baby have any known allergies? Are your baby's immunizations current? Does your baby have any chronic conditions? Be prepared to share details about your pregnancy and the baby's birth.
- Changes in your baby's feeding and bowel movements. Have you noticed changes in your baby's eating or drinking patterns, in the number of wet diapers, or in the number and consistency of bowel movements?
- Changes in your baby's temperature. Does your baby have a fever? What's your baby's temperature? How did you take your baby's temperature? At what time did you take your baby's temperature?
- Home remedies and medications. Have you tried any home remedies or given your baby any over-the-counter or prescription medications? If so, what, how much and when?
Also, before you contact your baby's doctor make sure you're prepared to jot down any instructions. Be sure to have your pharmacy's contact information ready, too.
Being prepared will save you and your baby's doctor time — and stress — during a phone call, office visit or emergency situation.Previous page
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- Jana LA, et al. Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth To Reality. 2nd ed. Elk Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics. 2011:1.
- When to call the baby's doctor: Print-and-go guide. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/when-call-baby-doctor.pdf. Accessed Nov. 26, 2012.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam; 2004:138.
- Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 13th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011:1.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Nov. 26, 2012.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 26, 2012