Ever Googled ‘My kid has a fever — should I visit the hospital?’ Or perhaps your little one has been vomiting or bumped their head? Here’s when to visit the urgent care centre at the hospital versus when to visit the GP
In the wild world of parenting, we’re all too familiar with the trickiness that arises when our little sidekicks fall sick. Is it worth rushing to the hospital or should you visit your neighbourhood General Practitioner (GP)? We spill the beans on how to confidently decide when the situation is an emergency and requires a visit to the Paediatric Urgent Care Centre (aka hospital A&E or Emergency Room) versus when you can monitor the situation or visit your nearest GP. Don’t worry mamas and dads, you’ve got this!
When to take your child to the hospital:
If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, it is best to head straight to a hospital for paediatric emergency care.
- Severe respiratory distress: If your child is having significant difficulty breathing or shows signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing or persistent coughing.
- Loss of consciousness: If your child loses consciousness, even momentarily.
- Serious injuries: including fractures, deep cuts, or injuries that may require stitches.
- High fever in infants under 3 months old: a fever over 38°C/100.4°F.
- High fever in kids above 3 months old: a temperature of 40°C/104°F or more that lasts for more than 3 days.
- Severe allergic reactions: If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction with symptoms like difficulty in breathing, swelling, or anaphylaxis.
- Seizures/convulsions: If your child is experiencing fits or seizures for the first time (with or without fever), having fits longer than 5 minutes or after a fall/injury.
- Stomach Flu: if they are experiencing frequent diarrhoea, vomiting, or both as this could be stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis.
- Scalds and burn injuries: Unless the injuries are mild (e.g. first degree), all burn injuries need to be reviewed by a doctor. Take your child to an urgent care centre if they have blisters with affected skin peeling off, if the burn involves the face, neck, hands, feet or genitalia, persistent fever and/or pus discharge. Immediate medical attention is needed if your child has been exposed to fire/smoke and shows the following signs: hoarse voice, soot in nostrils/throat, drowsiness, and singed eyebrows.
- Limb injuries: if there is an open fracture, deformity of bone or joint, worsening limb pain, especially during movement or touch, increasing swelling and/or bruising of a joint, or inability to stand on the affected lower limb.
For the comprehensive list of emergency conditions, click here. Whether it’s a sudden fever spike in your newborn or an unexpected tumble, parents should know about Parkway East Hospital’s Paediatric Urgent Care Centre designed for paediatric emergencies. As it’s a private hospital, you can expect shorter waiting times. A team of seasoned specialists and paediatric nurses with over 20 years of experience will be on hand for medical emergencies.
If your child requires an ambulance, you can call Parkway Emergency ambulance hotline: 1800-727 5929.
When to take your child to the doctor (GP):
General Practitioners (GPs) are primary care doctors who provide non-emergency medical care. Not every health hiccup requires a sprint to the hospital. If your child is dealing with a persistent cough, a runny nose, or a mysterious rash that’s not quite an emergency but needs attention, opting for a GP appointment is the way to go. Here are some common scenarios that signal a trip to the GP:
- Mild to moderate illness: For common illnesses like colds, mild fevers*, earaches, or minor infections (including Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. *It is common for children above 3 months old to have high temperatures of up to 40°C. If your child is above 3 months with a fever of less than 3 days, head to the GP first. Only head to the emergency room if the fever exceeds 3 days.
- Routine check-ups and vaccinations: Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and monitoring of your child’s general well-being.
- Non-severe injuries: that don’t require immediate attention, such as small cuts, bruises, or minor burns.
- Chronic or lingering symptoms: If your child has ongoing or chronic health concerns, consult your GP for a thorough examination. Should your child require further medical attention, your GP will refer them to the hospital.
Paediatric Urgent Care Centre: Singapore’s sole private centre dedicated to paediatric emergencies
Parkway East Paediatric Urgent Care Centre is Singapore’s sole private urgent care centre dedicated to addressing the urgent medical needs of children and adolescents. Parkway East Hospital’s Paediatric Urgent Care Centre provides a much-needed additional option for children’s emergency care in Singapore. And because this is a private hospital, parents can look forward to much shorter waiting times!
Parkway East Paediatric Urgent Care Centre is headed by Dr Lee Khai Pin, a paediatrician with over 20 years of experience focused on paediatric emergencies, having practised in this speciality for over 12 years. As the centre is focused on paediatric emergency medicine, all doctors on hand will be specialists in children’s health which can be critical in an emergency concerning infants and kids.
Since it is located within a hospital, laboratory tests, radiology scans and admissions to the hospital can be arranged swiftly and seamlessly, if needed. Plus as part of the IHH Healthcare system, you’ll be able to utilise the different services available, including post-emergency follow-ups with paediatricians at Parkway East Paediatric Clinic, Parkway MediCentre at Woodleigh Mall or any of the specialists in IHH hospitals (Mount Elizabeth Orchard & Novena, and Gleneagles).
Parkway East Paediatric Urgent Care Centre at Parkway East Hospital is open daily and operates beyond usual clinic hours (till 11pm daily) to treat paediatric medical emergencies. If you have an emergency after 11pm, the staff and doctors at the Urgent Care Centre will still be on duty to assess the medical severity, stabilise the patient and call in a paediatrician if necessary.
So whether you live in the east or are looking for a paediatric emergency care with shorter wait times, keep the Parkway East Paediatric Urgent Care Centre top of mind, mamas and dads!