If you’re like most parents, from the moment your baby’s placed in your arms you’re overcome with love… and anxiety. You’re responsible for this tiny person who can’t communicate with you, but needs for you to do everything for them. Many colds, stomach bugs and mishaps await in the years ahead. And how does a parent know when to take an infant to the doctor?
What if something’s wrong? After all, they can’t tell you, beyond through non-verbal cues. It’s no wonder parents get freaked out at what may be a little thing, in fear of accidentally causing irreversible harm. While some things fall into this category, there are just as many, if not more, that are nothing to worry about. Accidents happen, so it’s important to know when to call the pediatrician and when to just deliver some extra TLC.
Here are some typical scenarios that often lead to the question, “Should we head to the ER?” Dr. Gina Montion, a pediatrician at Banner Health Center in Arizona, weighs in.
When to Take Infant to Doctor: Potential Scenarios
My Baby Accidentally Fell Off the Bed, or I Dropped My Baby
In either case, you may feel like the worst parent ever, but these things happen. Recently, actress and author Jenny Mollen revealed she dropped her five-year-old son on his head, causing him to fracture his skull. What should you do if this happens to you?
Montion tells Parentology a child who drops or falls more than three feet, especially onto a hard surface, should be seen by a doctor.
I Accidentally Closed the Car Door on My Child’s Fingers
You’re running late and scrambling to get everyone in the car and don’t notice your kid’s fingers when you shut the door. While they may just look bruised, you should get them checked out.
“If there’s a fracture in the growth plate area, it could affect the growth area,” Montion says. An X-ray can determine if that’s the case.
I’m Afraid I’ll Nick My Baby During Fingernail Trims
Nail trims can be an Olympic sport. If you’ve snipped your baby’s fingertips before, or are afraid it’s going to happen, try what Moniton calls the clip, pull, clip method. Clip from one end, then gently pull the nail before clipping from the other end.
My Infant Won’t Stop Crying
If you’ve tried everything and your baby is truly inconsolable for hours, you may want to call the doctor to get to the root of the problem.
“Check your baby for hair wrapped around a finger, toe or somewhere else,” Montion says. This is called a hair tourniquet and can actually cut off your baby’s circulation.
My Toddler’s Not Pooping as Much
Many newbie parents are concerned when their baby doesn’t poop as much as they used to, or get gas from time-to-time. Generally, there’s no cause for worry as long as your child is eating and happy.
Save trips to the ER for true emergencies. That way, you’re not exposing your child to unnecessary germs for nothing. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.
When to Take Infant to Doctor: Sources
Dr. Gina Montion, Banner Health Pediatrician, Arizona