10 Common Child Health Emergencies And How To Deal With Them

Parenthood is both exciting and exhausting, fulfilling and frustrating, and rewarding and really, really scary.

Being a parent, especially a new parent, comes with never ending highs and lows, and many of the lows are attributed to the unparalleled fear of having a sick or injured child and not knowing what to do. A parent’s top priority is keeping their children safe and healthy.

While there is nothing that can be done to stop you, as a parent, from worrying about your childs well being, being prepared and educated on various situations that you may encounter as a parent will surely give you some peace of mind.

Below are 10 common child health emergencies and how to deal with them.


For minor burns, or while waiting for emergency medical staff to arrive to treat more severe burns, soak the area with cool water or hold a cold compress to the skin for no more than 5 minutes (unless the burn covers more than 10% of the body, then simply wrap your child in a clean towel and wait for EMR to arrive).


If your child is not showing any symptoms of being ill, call your local poison control center. Some dangerous substances may not bring about immediate symptoms. If your child is showing symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Do not try to make your child vomit.

Head Injuries

Call a doctor for any infant head injuries, even minor bumps, if your child has lost consciousness, and if your child is vomiting, in pain, or cannot walk or talk properly.

If your child is older, and is not displaying any of the above symptoms apply a cold pack to the area, and keep an eye on your childs symptoms for the next 24 hours.


Follow the age appropriate Heimlich maneuver on your child to clear their throat of whatever is causing them to choke. Have someone nearby call 911 for you.

Taking a child specific first aid and CPR course could mean the difference between life and death. Every parent should become certified.


Typically a fever does not need to be treated. Make the child comfortable, ensure they drink lots of fluids, and wait it out.

Call the doctor if your infant’s temperature is over 100 degrees or if your child has been feverish for a number of days.

Troubles Breathing

If your child’s breathing sounds unusual, their breathing is faster than normal, their muscles around their ribs are sucking in when they breathe, or their face or lips become tinged with blue or grey, call an ambulance.

Your child may have a chest infection, asthma, bronchitis, severe croup, or pneumonia, and their breathing condition can change in an instant.


If your child’s rash is accompanied by swelling, difficulty breathing, pain, or if the rash is flush with the skin and does blanch when pushed on, get immediate medical attention.

For rashes that are less severe and do not display these symptoms, make an appointment to see your family doctor.


If an animal or another child bites your child, but the skin is not broken, simply apply a cold compress to soothe the child.

If the skin is broken, clean the wound gently with soap and water and apply a mild antiseptic. If bitten by a dog, or a child that has not been properly vaccinated, have the child see a doctor to prevent infection.

Stomach Pains

If your child is complaining of severe stomach pains, they may be having problems with their appendix, gallbladder, bowels, or stomach (ulcers). In this case they should see a doctor immediately.

If they simply have a stomachache, it is most likely because of something they ate, a virus, or constipation.


If your child is vomiting, the most important thing you can do is keep them hydrated. Feed them small amounts of clear liquids every few minutes.

Call the doctor if your child refuses liquids, they cannot keep them down, has a head injury or fever, is bloated, are experiencing bad stomach pains, or are having troubles breathing.

Keep Calm!

All of these situations can be terrifying for a parent. The important thing is to stay calm. If you are unsure of how to handle a situation, call your doctor or the local medical hotline, and if you believe your child’s condition or injury is life threatening, call 911.


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