Top 8 reasons to take your kid to the doctor

When you’ve got a sick kid at home, it’s sometimes hard to know whether to take your kid to their pediatrician, visit the Emergency Room, urgent care, or just try and care for them at home.

“You know your child best, so trust your instincts,” said Dr. Tina McKensie, District Medical Group Pediatrician at Valleywise Health. “If something is worrying you, don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away.”

Dr. Tina McKensie, District Medical Group Pediatrician at Valleywise Health

At Valleywise Health, we’ve seen our fair share of sick kids with all sorts of symptoms. We’re here to help ease some of those worries you may be feeling as a parent. Here are eight common reasons you’ll want to seek quick medical attention for your child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

1. Fever

Kids need to see a doctor if they have a fever above 102 degrees that’s lasted for a couple days. Newborns and children with weakened immune systems should see a doctor immediately if the fever reaches 100.4 degrees.

2. Coughing/Breathing Problems

Difficulty breathing or persistent coughing should always be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. If your child starts wheezing it could be an asthma attack and you’ll need medication to treat it.

3. Ongoing Pain

See a doctor if your child is suffering from persistent pain such as earaches, sore throats or bad headaches to make sure it’s not something serious.

4. Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain may be a sign of many problems, including constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, or the stomach flu. Doctors will want to make sure abdominal pain is not appendicitis, which will likely need to be treated through surgery.

5. Certain Rashes

Not all rashes (such as eczema) need to be seen by a doctor, but when in doubt it’s always smart to make an appointment. If your child gets a rash that looks like flat red dots, it could signify a serious infection such as meningitis.

6. Head Bump

Accidents happen. If your child hits their head and becomes unconscious or vomits, call 911 right away, followed by your doctor. Although a lump on the head may look scary, it’s more serious if the hit happens on the side of the head.

7. Weird poop

Seek medical care if you notice your blood in your child’s poop. Constipation and diarrhea may be signs of potty-training stress, lack of fluids or exercise, medication or irritable bowel syndrome. Signs of dehydration may also include decreased urination and dry lips.

8. Frequent vomiting and/or diarrhea

If your child keeps throwing up, it could be anything form food poisoning to twisted intestines. Call a doctor immediately if your child begins to throw up blood or seems disoriented.


When in doubt, it’s always best to bring your child to a doctor than keeping them at home if they’re sick or in pain for any reason.

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