Should Your Child See a Doctor?

Child Health Advice Instructions

Instructions for Child Health Advice

Here are some tips for using the Child Health Advice topics.

1. Choose the Appropriate Topic

Choose the symptom that most closely matches your child's illness.

If your child has more than one symptom, address the most serious symptom. Serious means the symptom that potentially could cause harm to your child. (Example: for nosebleed and head injury together, use the Head Injury guideline.)

If you aren't sure, use more than one guideline.

Caution: don't use the fever guideline unless fever is your child's only symptom. If your child also has a cough, diarrhea or other symptom, go to that topic instead of fever.

Choosing the appropriate symptom is very important because it leads you to the best information for your child's illness or injury.

2. Read the Description / Symptoms

Read the Description / Symptoms section to be sure it's a good fit for your child. If not, consider related symptoms listed under "See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one)".

3. Read the "Call Your Doctor…" Tabs

The "Call Your Doctor Now" and "Call Your Doctor Later" tabs are composed of Parent Responses (what action you should take).

Examples include "Call Your Doctor Now If," "Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours If," and "Call Your Doctor During Weekday Hours If."

Below each Parent Response is a list of symptoms/reasons for calling or being seen by your child's doctor. Read through these bulleted items and don't skip any symptoms or reasons.

The purpose of these is to help you determine how sick your child is. The definition of each parent response is explained below.

4. Symbols

  • > means more than or greater than
  • < means less than or smaller than

5. Follow the Suggested Parent Response

If your child has even one of the serious or other call-your-doctor symptoms, stop reading the questions and take the Parent Response Action suggested in the heading above that question.

If the recommendation is to "Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours" or "Call Your Doctor During Weekday Hours", refer to the "Treat at Home" tab (highlighted in blue) to help you keep your child comfortable until then.

6. Follow Home Care Advice

If your child has none of the call-your-doctor symptoms, follow the "Treat at Home" advice listed in the right-hand, blue tab.

But watch your child carefully for any worsening or new symptoms. If your child's condition changes for the worse, calling your doctor again is a good idea.

7. Reader's Responsibility

Finally, you're in control of this process. If you think or feel your child needs to be seen, call your doctor for assistance.

And if you think you are dealing with a medical emergency, call 911 NOW.

8. Disclaimer Notice

These guidelines have been carefully written and reviewed. The author disclaims any responsibility, however, for any harm or damage associated with the use of this information. Read the full disclaimer notice .

9. Copyright Protection Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this program can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author and publisher.

It is prohibited to make or distribute any unauthorized copies of these Parent Care guidelines for personal or business purposes, to create derivative works, etc.

These guidelines are copyright protected and are not available for any of the following purposes:

  1. To use as a template or model for writing a commercial product, be it printed or software
  2. To use as a reference when writing a commercial product, be it printed or software
  3. To use as a resource for updating a commercial product

Parent Responses to Illness and Injury

One of the purposes of these guidelines is to help you determine how sick your child is. Then it's time to act. By reading the questions and using your common sense, you should be able to fit your child into one of the following five Parent Response categories:

Call 911 Now: (Your child may need an ambulance)

Definition: your child may have a life-threatening emergency.

Action: Immediately call 911 or your Emergency Medical Response system.

Call Your Doctor Now If

Definition: your child may have a non-life-threatening emergency or urgent condition.

Action: Call your child's doctor immediately. If you can't reach your doctor within 60 minutes, go to the nearest emergency room by car.

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours If

Definition: Your child probably has a nonurgent illness that may require a specific test (such as a throat culture) or an antibiotic (such as for an ear infection). Your child may need to be seen, but it can safely wait for up to 24 hours.

Action: If the office is open, call now. If the office is closed now, but will be open within 24 hours, call when it opens. If the office won't be open within the next 24 hours, call your doctor's answering service between 9:00am and 4:00 pm on any day of the week (including weekends and holidays) for assistance.

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Hours If

Definition: Your child has a nonurgent symptom or illness that has lasted longer than expected (such as a persistent cough or localized rash) but usually carries no risk of complications.

Your child may need to be seen in the office but it can safely wait a few days if it's the weekend or a holiday.

Action: If the office is open, call now. Otherwise, call during scheduled weekday office hours on Monday - Friday. (This category therefore excludes weekends and holidays.)

Treat at Home

Definition: Your child has a mild illness that's usually self-limited or harmless. Follow the detailed home care advice that's provided in each guideline.

Action: Your child can be safely cared for by you at home. Call your doctor if your child's condition becomes worse.