Baptist Children’s Hospital has a Children’s Emergency Center with a 24-bed capacity. The Center includes 18 private exam rooms with flat-screen TVs and DVDs for distraction and entertainment. In addition, there are two state-of-the-art trauma rooms for our most critical patients. Open 24 hours daily, the Center is staffed by doctors, registered nurses and technicians who specialize in pediatric care. The Children's Emergency Center is separate from the adult E.R., and is equipped to handle a wide range of medical problems from colds to critical illnesses. Child Life Specialists are available to provide play activities, movies and games to reduce children's anxiety during their visit. For more information, send an e-mail to BaptistChildrens@BaptistHealth.net
Pediatrics: What to do in an Emergency
No matter how conscientious you've been about teaching your child to be careful, at some point you're likely to be faced with a medical emergency. It may be major or minor, the result of an accident or illness. But the one certain thing about emergencies is that they happen when you least expect them. The time to prepare for an emergency is before one occurs so that no time is wasted when seconds count. Knowing what to do will enable you to react quickly and calmly, in order to provide the best care for your child until medical help arrives.
How do you know if it's an emergency?
Although it's difficult to say what constitutes an emergency to someone else, a rule of thumb is that if you think it's an emergency, it probably is. If it can wait a day or two to be treated, it definitely isn't.
For emergencies that are clearly not life-threatening -- such as sprains and dislocations, first-degree burns or superficial wounds -- there's usually time to call your pediatrician. Depending upon the severity and urgency of the problem, the pediatrician will either give advice over the phone, suggest that you make an appointment, recommend a specialist, or agree to meet you at the hospital. If the pediatrician is unavailable and your child can be moved safely, you may want to go directly to Baptist Children's Hospital's 24-hour Children's Emergency Center.
When to call for help
In any emergency that threatens life or limb, the first few minutes after the accident or illness occurs may be the critical period in which your first aid skills and common sense determine the outcome. Keeping your child in the best possible condition until medical assistance arrives will be your sole concern. If your child is experiencing breathing difficulties or severe bleeding, call 911 at once; don't waste precious minutes calling your pediatrician or a neighbor, or trying to transport your child to the hospital. Fire-Rescue paramedics will be able to give basic and advanced life support care while your child is being transported to the hospital. When in doubt about calling 911, err on the side of caution.
No matter whether you call Fire-Rescue, your pediatrician or the hospital, be prepared to give all the essential information about your child's condition: any medications he or she has been taking, allergies, special health considerations, and, of course, the phone number and address that you're calling from. Don't hang up until you are asked to do so.
What not to do
If your child is seriously ill or hurt, you'll want to avoid taking any steps that may compound the problem. If you think your child may be seriously injured, don't move him unless leaving him where he is will further endanger his life. And never administer fluids or try to induce vomiting if your child has swallowed poison, unless you have been so advised. If you can do nothing else while awaiting help, talk calmly and reassuringly to your child to try to keep both of you relaxed.
Work out a plan for medical emergencies
Keep emergency phone numbers in a convenient place -- on or near all telephones is best -- where they can be readily seen by family members and babysitters.
If you're new to the area, make a trial run to Baptist Hospital's Children's Emergency Center to be sure you know the quickest route. Just come to the hospital's Emergency Center at 8900 North Kendall Drive.
If your child has a medical condition such as diabetes or hemophilia, or has serious allergic reactions to insect stings or certain medications, make sure he or she wears an I.D. bracelet or carries an emergency card with information including blood type and other important details.
Learn CPR before you need it. In any medical emergency where the heart has stopped beating, resuscitation efforts simply cannot wait for trained medical help to arrive. A course on CPR and Home Safety offered at Baptist and West Kendall Baptist Hospital is geared to parents and others who work or live with infants and young children. Call 786-594-6787.
Prompt action and clear thinking can prevent many emergencies from turning into tragedies, but the most important thing is to be prepared.