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Pediatric emergency care

Specialized staff provides pediatric emergency care in a kid-friendly emergency room (ER). These highly trained pediatric doctors and nurses use child-sized medical equipment to evaluate and treat your child for medical emergencies.

Children's emergency rooms (ERs) in Virginia

Our skilled teams offer comprehensive emergency care for your children.

At HCA Virginia Health System, caring for your child with compassion is what we do. Our experienced ER teams understand that pediatric emergency needs are unique, from equipment and procedures to treatments and medications. You'll quickly meet with our specialists to get the answers and treatments your family needs.

Related specialties

Learn more about our related specialties.

Pediatric emergency conditions we treat

Knowing when to bring your child to an emergency room can be complex. We treat a wide ranges of conditions including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Animal, insect or human bites
  • Changes in breathing
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Dehydration
  • High fever
  • Ingestion of non-food items
  • Rashes
  • Sports injuries

Pediatric emergency services we offer

Our ERs are staffed 24/7 for your peace of mind. Though we treat thousands of children each month, our doctors offer individualized care for each and every child.

Pediatric ER services

Our available services span many disciplines and specialties, and include:

  • A pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), should hospitalization be necessary
  • Access to doctors, pediatric subspecialists and nurses specially trained in caring for children
  • Advanced technology specifically designed for children and young adults
  • Complimentary valet parking so you and your child can go directly to the ER
  • Dedicated pediatric rooms staffed 24/7 by board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians and pediatricians
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Pediatric medication management system that allows us to improve the speed and accuracy of pediatric dosing

When to bring your child to the ER

If your child is inconsolable, their condition is severe or accompanied by blood in their vomit, mucus or stool, seek emergency care. Additionally, if you think your child is having a life-threatening emergency or if they are not moving or are too weak to stand, call 911.

Here are some other signs and symptoms that may indicate you should seek emergency care for your child:

Abdominal pain, especially if the child has:

  • A compromised immune system
  • A bulging outward abdomen
  • A high fever
  • Had a recent abdominal injury or surgery
  • Pain that radiates into the back
  • Seizures or fainting
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Trouble rousing or no interest in eating or drinking

Animal, insect or human bites or scratches, especially if there is:

  • A risk of rabies, tetanus or viral transmission
  • Difficulty breathing or tightness in the throat
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Drainage from the bite
  • Hives or swelling on the face or all over the body
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness and warmth surrounding the bite
  • Severe cramping
  • Severe pain at the bite location or anywhere else in the body
  • Wounds on the hands, face or joints

Call 911 when your child is bitten, scratched or stung if they:

  • Act or speak confusedly
  • Begin drooling or slurring their speech
  • Develop a hoarse voice, cough or tightness in the throat or chest
  • Experience trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Have a history of life-threatening allergic reactions
  • Have difficulty waking up afterward

Changes in breathing, such as:

  • Breathing that is faster or slower than normal
  • Breathing harder than usual without exertion
  • Chest and abdomen are moving in a "see-saw" motion
  • Flaring the nostrils when breathing
  • High-pitched, squeaky or wheezing sound when breathing
  • Has retractions (the areas below the ribs, between the ribs and in the neck sink in with each attempt to inhale)
  • Persistent barking cough

Additionally, if your child develops a bluish hue to the lips or skin or if they have asthma and are experiencing concerning or unusual difficulty breathing, call 911.

Cough or sore throat accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Inability to open the mouth all the way
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muffled voice
  • Significant swelling on one side of the throat

Cuts or wounds, especially if:

  • Bleeding does not stop after 10 to 15 minutes of applied pressure

Dehydration is accompanied by:

  • A decrease in weight
  • Dry mouth, decreased urine, sunken eyes and/or no tears when crying
  • Lethargy
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid heartbeat

Fever, especially if accompanied by:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Immunizations that are not up to date
  • Inability to keep fluids down
  • Inability to urinate or burning during urination
  • Rash
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting

What is a high fever in a child?

  • Younger than 3 months old: 100.4+ ℉
  • Between 3 months and 3 years old: 102.2+ ℉
  • 3 years old or older: 102+ ℉ for two or more days

Ingestion of non-food items, especially if accompanied by:

  • A loss of consciousness
  • Seizures or convulsions

When your child swallows something they shouldn't, do not try to make them vomit — it may cause more damage. If your child shows minimal symptoms, call the poison control center at (800) 222-1222.

Rash, when accompanied by:

  • Abnormal bleeding or bruises under the rash
  • Areas of tenderness
  • Head or joint pain
  • High fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin peeling away or blistering (especially in the mouth)
  • Streaks of red on the skin
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat

Sports injuries, especially if:

  • Your child is 4 years old or younger
  • The injured limb cannot be used or bear weight
  • The injured limb is misshapen or the bone protrudes from the skin

Concussions, especially if accompanied by:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High fever
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss or changes in level of consciousness
  • Neck pain
  • Repeated vomiting

Vomiting and/or diarrhea, especially if your child:

  • Has dry mouth
  • Has repetitive vomiting
  • Has sunken eyes
  • Is lethargic
  • Is not urinating or wetting diapers
  • Is younger than 3 months old and has a fever

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