How kid-friendly ERs make a difference

March 08, 2018 | by Jennifer McNulty, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

When your child is sick or injured, his/her physician is usually your first point of contact. Even if it’s after hours, the on-call doctor can help you decide where to go for care, such as an Immediate Care Center or a Walk-In Clinic.

For a situation that’s more serious, a trip to the ER may be needed. Your child may need emergency care when she/he shows any of these signs. Of course, there are some emergencies in which 911 is your best choice: your child is having trouble breathing, is badly injured, unresponsive or unconscious.

When your child needs emergency care, a pediatric ER can provide care that’s more specialized for young patients than a regular ER.

Why choose a pediatric ER?

  • Expertise in treating children – Pediatric ERs are staffed by doctors, nurses and techs who are trained to specially care for kids, including board-certified ER doctors, pediatric intensivists, pediatric hospitalists, and certified emergency nurses and techs. They spend extra time in their training, have additional certifications and, most importantly, specifically choose to care only for kids.
  • Kid-friendly environment – Pediatric ERs focus on the unique needs of children in a kid-friendly environment that is designed to put children at ease, with kid-friendly waiting areas and family-friendly rooms.
  • Child-size equipment – One size fits all doesn't work in emergency care, especially when it comes to kids. They need oxygen masks and other equipment sized just for them. Pediatric ERs have equipment designed for kids’ sizes, shapes and needs. The doctors know the right dose of medication for a child — and the right words to coax a smile.
  • Easier IVs – IVs can be more challenging to perform on children, who have smaller veins and often can’t sit still for the process. IV placement is also a leading cause of pediatric pain. Pediatric ERs have technology to make getting stuck with a needle much easier, including numbing the skin before starting an IV (e.g., J-Tip Needle-Free Injection System) in conjunction with vein illumination technology (e.g., AccuVein), to allow for painless IV starts.
  • Distraction cart – To help make your child’s stay as comfortable as possible, some pediatric ERs provide entertainment and education for children during their visit.
  • Child life specialists – Some pediatric ERs have specialists available to comfort children and teens being treated. They help young patients relax, prepare them for treatment and teach them how to cope.
  • Pediatric intensive care – Should your child’s condition require hospitalization, some hospitals provide pediatric critical care. Edward Hospital is one of 10 pediatric critical care centers in the state offering a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for children who need critical care. Also, both our Plainfield ER and the Elmhurst Hospital ER have a pediatric-trained transport team available to transfer children requiring a higher level of care to our Naperville campus.

ER, Immediate Care, Walk-in Clinic or doctor’s office? Read our levels of care guide to help you decide.

Edward-Elmhurst Health’s three fully-equipped emergency departments in Naperville, Elmhurst and Plainfield provide specialized care for our youngest patients by staff trained in pediatric and trauma care, and pediatric advanced life support.

Both Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Emergency Departments are recognized as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP). Learn more about pediatric emergency care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Related blogs:

How to handle an emergency
When to take your child to the ER
How to prepare your sitter for an emergency

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