Did you know that a third of all ER visits are pediatric emergencies? It is only natural for parents to worry about their children’s health. If your child seems ill, it is essential to determine which symptoms call for immediate emergency care and which can be attended to at a doctor’s appointment the following day. Parents can rely on expert pediatric urgent care by American Family Care GP for all their family’s medical needs.

This article will list the most common pediatric emergencies and highlight symptoms that call for immediate medical attention. It will help you distinguish between situations that can wait for an appointment with your regular doctor and those that require you to call an ambulance or seek immediate medical attention. Children need dedicated pediatric doctors, nurses, and equipment because they can be challenging and diverse patients.  


Children can hardly stay still and often get into accidents when not adequately supervised or exposed to an unsafe environment. These accidents may be relatively harmless bumps and bruises or could be more severe, like burns. Some falls can also cause serious injuries that call for immediate attention. If your child has an accident followed by these symptoms, it is wise to visit an emergency room or call an ambulance. Areas of concern include injury to the spine or neck, a head injury with loss of consciousness, severe burns, broken bones, and gaping wounds that are wider or deeper than half an inch. 

Environmental Injuries

Sometimes, your child may suffer a harmful interaction with their immediate environment that raises a health concern. The most common type of environmental injury occurs when children come into contact with allergens or poisonous materials. Environmental injuries are smoke inhalation, anaphylaxis, hypothermia, heatstroke, dehydration, and drowning. 

If you suspect your child may have consumed a dangerous substance, it is advisable to call an ambulance and provide all the information you can about the poison consumed. While waiting for an ambulance, you should contact the poison control center and follow all their instructions carefully. 

Respiratory Distress 

When children have trouble breathing, parents often go into panic mode, and rightfully so. Respiratory distress can be caused by high fever, seizures, croup, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Telltale signs of respiratory distress include nasal flaring, rapid breathing, abnormal breathing sounds, e.g., wheezing, lethargy, irritability, the sinking of the chest or straining muscles, e.g., neck or abdominal muscles in an attempt to breathe. Rush your child to the emergency room at the first sign of respiratory distress. If your child is not breathing, call 911 immediately. 


Children are vulnerable to fungal, bacterial, and viral infections that manifest through mild to life-threatening symptoms. Any not appropriately treated conditions pose a severe risk to all patients, but this risk is amplified for children. Children may suffer respiratory infections, ear infections, skin infections, whooping cough, encephalitis, and other infections. Most infections manifest through fever and a general lack of energy. If you notice your child has abnormally high or low temperatures, they may be battling an infection. 

Unless the infection has progressed to dire levels, your child is not likely to need emergency care. Parents are advised to be on the lookout for signs of infection to avoid the complications caused by an advanced condition. 

Skin Conditions

Kids can be subject to skin conditions that vary in severity and symptoms. Some skin conditions cause mild discomfort, itchiness, and pain. These skin conditions may be caused by genetic factors, environmental triggers, or viral infections. The most common skin conditions treated in pediatric emergency rooms include rashes, erythema, hives, chickenpox, and pustules. If your child is not in extreme pain or discomfort, skin conditions are generally not an emergency and can be treated by appointment by your regular practitioner. 

Chronic Conditions

Parents whose children suffer from chronic conditions are more likely to visit the ER because such illnesses usually cause sudden and severe complications. Chronic diseases also increase the odds of a child developing a problem that requires emergency treatment. The most common chronic childhood conditions include neurological disorders, congenital heart problems, hematological disorders, endocrine disorders, and oncologic issues. Parents dealing with chronic conditions are advised to be on high alert to catch any health challenge before it progresses. 

Parents always want to practice the better safe than sorry approach to healthcare. However, knowing which situations demand emergency medical care is essential to avoid regrettable incidents. You should take your child to the ER should they suffer severe trauma or complain of trouble breathing.