Girl in Hospital

Emergency Medical Services

When Your Child Needs Emergency Medical Services

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children rarely become seriously ill with no warning signs. Early recognition and treatment of symptoms can prevent an illness or injury from getting worse or turning into an emergency. 

What Is An Emergency?

An emergency is when you believe a severe injury or illness is threatening your child’s health or may cause permanent harm. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician in advance what you should do and where you should go in case of an emergency.

Seek emergency medical treatment right away if your child shows any of these signs:

• Acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert

• Unconsciousness or no response when you talk to your child

• Rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness (a seizure)

• Increasing effort or trouble with breathing

• Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray

• Neck stiffness or a rash with fever

• Increasing or severe persistent pain

• A cut that is large, deep, or involves the head, chest, or abdomen

• Bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure for 5 minutes

• A burn that is large or involves the hands, feet, groin, chest or face

• Any loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, or vomiting after a head injury


Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 at once if your child has swallowed a suspected poison or another person’s medication, even if your child has no signs or symptoms.

Call 911 for help if you are concerned that your child’s life may be in danger or that your child is seriously ill or injured.

Be prepared by learning CPR and basic first aid. For classes near you, contact your pediatrician, the American Red Cross, or the American Heart Association.

Information from