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Baby Emergencies: When to Call the Doctor Right Away

Part of the Your Baby’s First Year For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Your baby’s first year is a time of wonder, joy, and uncertainty. You’ll learn not to panic every time your baby cries, but there are times when your bundle of joy needs a doctor’s attention right away. If your child experiences any of the conditions in the following list, get in touch with your doctor immediately:

  • If a baby less than 3 months old has a temperature of 100.5 or higher, call immediately.

    In older babies, fever is okay and can be treated at home. Do call if the fever is over 101 and/or lasts longer than three days or if the baby has other symptoms.

  • Baby is having difficulty breathing.

  • Baby has a cut that is still bleeding after you’ve applied pressure for ten minutes; or the cut has jagged edges, is a puncture wound, is significant and located on his face, or is in an area where it’s unlikely to stay closed by itself (a joint, for example).

  • Your child has sustained a head injury and has lost consciousness; has dilated or uneven pupils; is extremely irritable (inconsolable) or lethargic (unable to wake him); is very pale; seems confused or unable to perform his usual activities; or has discharge from his ear(s).

  • Your child has been vomiting for several days or has had a case of projectile vomiting.

  • Baby has had a severe allergic reaction to a food or medicine (hives or swelling of the tongue, lips, or eyes).

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