Why a Pediatric ER?

March 29, 2017
Children enjoying outdoors

“As a parent, be sure to find out where the closest pediatric ER is located and know where to take your child in an emergency,” says Johnn Trautwein, MD.

Kids have very different needs from adults, especially in a medical emergency. From staffing to furniture to medical equipment, the Pediatric Emergency Department at The Children’s Medical Center at Summerlin Hospital is designed just for kids, says Medical Director Johnn Trautwein, MD.

Child-friendly Equipment and Comfort

The Pediatric ER is equipped with smaller blood pressure cuffs, nebulizer masks and other age-appropriate equipment, as well as toys, iPads®, movies, snacks and other kid-friendly comforts. Certified child life specialists on staff can help relieve kids’ and parents’ anxiety by explaining tests and procedures at the child’s level of understanding. “Communication with families is so important, and we want to make sure everyone feels informed every step of the way,” says Children’s Medical Center Director Lisa Sperry, RN, BSN, MHA, CCRN.

Age-appropriate Testing and Treatment

Pediatric doctors have experience and training to know when testing or antibiotics are needed and what symptoms to look for in diagnosing certain conditions in children, Dr. Trautwein notes. “Just because some of our patients may be adult-sized, that doesn’t mean they have the same physiology as an adult,” Dr. Trautwein says. In addition to treating physical issues in teens and adolescents, doctors can also identify and diagnose signs of emotional problems, like depression, and help get intervention started.

A Team-based Approach

The Pediatric ER is staffed by physicians and nurses specially trained in pediatrics and backed by a highly skilled team of subspecialists. The whole idea is to make children feel more comfortable and provide the best care possible, Dr. Trautwein says.

Safety Reminders

Dehydration — Keep a bottle of water with you when you go out, and try to do your activities in the morning or evening, if possible, to avoid mid-day heat.

Pool safety — Check pool gates and make sure an adult is supervising at all times; don’t walk away for even a minute, as accidents can happen fast. CPR training can be obtained through the American Red Cross.

Scorpion stings — Get immediate medical care if your child is stung by a scorpion. While pain, numbness or swelling around the site of the sting can be common, more concerning symptoms include difficulty breathing, drooling, agitation, vomiting, uncontrolled muscles or delirium, Dr. Trautwein notes. Summerlin Hospital's Pediatric ER has antivenom medication, if needed.

Concussion Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you should call 9-1-1- right away or go to the ER if your child experiences the following symptoms after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body: one pupil larger than the other; drowsiness or an inability to wake up; a headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away; slurred speech, weakness, numbness or decreased coordination; repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures; unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness or agitation; loss of consciousness, even if brief; for infants or toddlers, any of the above conditions or inconsolable crying or refusal to nurse.

Preparing for an ER Visit

While ER visits are spontaneous by nature, it can be helpful to be prepared. A favorite stuffed animal or blanket can help to comfort a child, while easy toys and activities can be a great source of distraction for both the patient and his or her siblings. Don’t forget chargers for personal electronic devices. Be ready to provide the ER team with information such as your child’s current medications, allergies and/ or sensitivities, and past medical experiences. “When caregivers are able to remain calm and focused, it helps decrease anxiety for the child as well,” notes Sperry.

Take your child to the Pediatric ER if he or she …

  • Has difficulty breathing or lips turn “blue”
  • Appears to have a fracture
  • Has contracted a serious burn
  • Is not acting right and your intuition tells you something’s wrong

If you believe your child is experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Children's Medical Center

The Children's Medical Center at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center provides advanced care to infants, children, adolescents and teenagers.

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