When your child starts to get sick or you begin to sense that something just isn’t right with your child, it can be an extremely nerve racking experience. What should you do next? Well, the first thing is don’t overreact. Here are a few tips and signs to help you figure out your next steps to help your child get better and spot and prevent illness before it completely develops.

Some Signs of a Sick Child:

  • Fussiness, frequent crying or clinginess
  • Does not eat well
  • Lack of fluid intake
  • Fever
  • Irregular sleeping
  • Irregular urination

What Parents Need to Know

  • How to tell when a child is sick
  • When to call the doctor
  • What to do in emergencies
  • What medicine to give and how to give them.

Be prepared.

  • Keep a phone list in a convenient place in your house and also save these numbers in your cell phone. Include telephone numbers of your child’s doctor and who to call after hours, the hospital, poison control, the fire department, your local pharmacy and their after-hours line. Inform your babysitter of where these numbers are located in case of emergency in addition to how you can be reached when you are out and a backup person in case they can’t get in touch with you.
  • Talk to your Doctor about what to do and what warrants an after-hours call or emergency. Your doctor can advise on handy items to keep in the house and commonly used medicines to keep in your medicine cabinet.
  • Research for yourself what common ailments children can have at each age and what you can do to prevent or help them get better if they do catch something. A good source for this is the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Take a first-aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) course for children and adults. Learn the Heimlich maneuver (for choking).
  • Don’t panic! Stay calm and take a breath in order to react the best you can for your child in the situation.

When calling the Doctor:

  • The earlier in the day you can contact the doctor the better. Chances are, if your child isn’t feeling well in the afternoon, he won’t feel any better by bedtime.
  • Remember to speak calmly and be ready to provide the doctor with your child’s basic information like name, age, weight, date of your child’s last doctor visit, medical history and current medications your child is taking.
  • Provide detailed information on your child’s symptoms, the duration of the symptoms, fluid intake, vomiting, temperature, etc.
  • Try to keep people with cold, flu or other symptoms away from your child. Let your physician know if you think your child has been exposed to an illness.