Assess where your child should go for injury, illness

sick girl with stuffed animal in bedThis time of year means sunscreen and softball, making memories and summer safety—especially where to go for care your child needs. Of course, if a situation is serious enough that it warrants calling 911 or going to the Emergency Department, do it.

Making sure Carle patients of all ages receive care in the appropriate place helps keep some locations from being unnecessarily overloaded. Remember, you can schedule appointments, contact your physician’s office, see immunization records, and request refills at MyCarle.com. Plus, Carle Sports Medicine can help you and your kids bounce back from sports-related injuries.

“It’s a challenge,” said Carle Emergency Department physician Audra Thomas, MD. “When you’re concerned for your child and not sure what to do, sometimes heading to the Emergency Department is exactly right.

“Sometimes, though, parents and kids are better off when everyone takes a deep breath and considers the options.”

Here’s your summertime guide for where to go for what kind of medical situation. Health Alliance provides additional information in this post, or speak with your doctor. 

While this is a partial list, you typically should take your child to the Emergency Department for:

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Poisoning
  • Heat-related illness
  • Broken bones
  • Sharp wounds
  • Serious bleeding
  • Head injuries with loss of consciousness

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for people age 1 to age 44—more than heart disease, cancer and HIV combined.

The best policy: avoid dangers and distractions (yes, cell phones and other devices) to prevent injuries.

“Kids can get hurt anywhere—at the park, in the pool, on the farm and in the car,” said Mary Beth Voights, lead trauma services coordinator at Carle.

Watchful parents and caregivers help so much, as do safe swimming habits, bike helmets and properly installed car seats. Also, keep poison, medication, cleaning products and anything that can produce fire far out of kids’ reach.”

For serious but not-life-threatening situations, you typically should take your child to Convenient Care (urgent care) for:

  • Fevers that don’t improve with medication
  • Rash or sunburns
  • Sprains and strains
  • Back and neck pain
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Earache
  • Strep throat
  • Minor cuts

“Of course, use your best judgment to quickly and safely get your child the care he or she needs,” Dr. Thomas said.

And, by all means, share this helpful guide with family and friends to have the safest summer possible.