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Should I call my pediatrician if we have to go to the emergency room (ER)?

The answer should be an unequivocal yes—or you need a new pediatrician. Maybe you’ll find out the trip isn’t necessary. Maybe your doctor will want to meet you there. Maybe your doctor will remind you about what to tell the Emergency Department (ED) doc. Also, some insurance plans require a doctor’s preauthorization before an ED visit for conditions that are usually not true emergencies.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent, too!-to avoid critical, common blunders where it matters most: in the ER, pediatrics ward, all-night pharmacy, exam room, or any other medical hot spot for kids. These tips could save your child's life one day. Even tomorrow." -Dr. Jen Making health care decisions for your child can be overwhelming in this age of instant information. It's easy to feel like you know next to nothing or way too much. Either way, you may resort to guessing instead of making smart choices. That's why the nation's leading health care oversight group, The Joint Commission, joined forces with Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg on this book: to help you make the right decisions, whether you're dealing with a checkup or a full-blown crisis. The Smart Parent's Guide will give you the information you need to manage the pediatric health care system. Dr. Jen understands the questions parents face—as a mom, she's faced them herself. She walks you through everything: from how to choose the best ER for kids (not adults) to when to give a kid medicine (or not to) to how pediatricians care for their own children (prepare to be surprised). Her goal is your goal: to protect the health of your children. There simply is nothing more important.

Communicating with your pediatrician about going to the emergency room (ER), or any condition that is not normal for your child, is always best.

It would be a good idea to call your pediatrician prior to an emergency room visit. Your pediatrician can guide you whether your child requires the emergency room or you can wait until a visit with him or her. Your pediatrician can also guide you about what to expect in the emergency room.

There are times where 911 is the route to take, depending on the symptom. Trust your instincts.

If it is an emergency, you should call 911, go the emergency room (ER) and then follow up with your pediatrician after. A typical ER will call your pediatrician and send records if need be after caring for your child. If you are unsure if you should go to the ER, you can call your pediatrician first and get his or her advice.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.