When should one rush to Emergencies?

temperature. In these moments, parents often think their child is going to die. Happily, it's spectacular, but not fatal. Nevertheless, the child should be hospitalised quickly for treatment.»


For non life-threatening emergencies, it's for the parents to act as they think fit: wait or consult. Dr. Diana said that, «In the first instance, try as far as possible to contact your general doctor, since he knows the child well and can help you. If need be, you can go directly to emergencies or telephone for advice. The advantage in calling is that a nurse can make an initial evaluation and possibly give you some advice, in particular concerning medication for your child. However, at the same time, do what you think is correct, and don't hesitate to move, even if the person who has replied to you thinks it is not necessary, for you can't learn everything by phone.»


Generally though, there is never an immediate answer to any given problem. If a child falls, for example, on its head, the consequences and action required will be different depending on whether the child fell on a hard or soft surface, the child's age, if it has lost consciousness, or if vomiting occurs.


Another advantage in calling emergencies before going is that they can suggest to you an appropriate time to arrive. This avoids having to wait to be attended to, and contributes as well to providing the best possible help in a timely manner.Grangettes

Leaving aside situations of extreme gravity, it is not always easy
to evaluate if one should bring a child to an Emergency Centre.
The best solution: listen!

Quand faut-il se précipiter aux urgences ?

H

ow to react when a child hurts itself, suddenly falls ill or doesn't seem well? Should one call emergency services, rush to the hospital, or even treat the problem yourself? It is not always easy to assess the gravity of a situation and to adopt the right attitude. According to Dr. Alessandro Diana, responsible for the new Paediatric Emergency Centre of les Grangettes, there's only one thing to do: listen!

Call 144?

«Faced with any situation which seems worrying to you – even if in reality it is not truly so – do not hesitate to call your paediatrician or, should the occasion arise, an emergency service, without fear of judgement,» explains Dr. Diana. «It's our role, in effect, to recognise parental anxiety whatever the problem. If a young mother comes to see me for a troublesome hiccup, it's for me to reassure her. It's equally normal that one panics quicker for a first child because one hasn't the same experience, nor the same knowledge, as other mothers with many children.»

When an emergency is serious – an asthma attack, feverish convulsion, or accidental drowning – it is absolutely essential to call 144. «It is preferable to call an ambulance rather than put your child in a car and, in the panic, risk an accident by driving too fast,» assures Dr. Diana.

«On the other hand, whilst awaiting an emergency service, first-aid action, such as heart massages or mouth-to-mouth can be crucial. Moreover it is essential, if the child is unconscious, to place it in a lateral position and to free breathing passages. In order to know really what to do in case of an accident, it can be useful to follow an ‘A-B-C' course, (Airway-Breathing-Circulation), to be able to react in the best way possible and to have a general knowledge of the most common problems.»

At the top of the list of panic situations: the feverish convulsion. «It's something very impressive that happens relatively often between six months and six years,» says Dr. Diana. «In fact, it amounts to an epileptic crisis that in general lasts less than five minutes, caused by a rise in

Marianne Girard

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