When Should I Take My Child to the ER?

Sponsored Content from Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Sky Ridge Medical Center

January 27, 2021

It can be one of the most important questions parents face and one of the most difficult to answer: Should I take my child to the ER?

You may be thinking, “Am I overlooking something serious by not taking my child to the ER?” or “Am I overreacting?” Let us help you decide.

Every year, one in five children requires emergency medical care. Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Sky Ridge (RMHC) offers 24/7 emergency care from board-certified pediatric emergency doctors and pediatricians, caring for children and adolescents.

Below are the most common reasons you may need to visit the ER and what to look for. Find more on when to visit the ER through our online tool.

Abdominal Pain

Everyone experiences abdominal pain at one time or another. If your “gut” tells you that you need help right away, you should visit the emergency department. You should seek emergency care if the pain is severe and unrelenting, your abdomen is tender to the touch, or the pain radiates to your back.

If you experience any of the following symptoms along with pain, you should also seek emergency care.

  • Fever
  • Vomiting blood
  • Dark, black stool
  • Unable to keep food down
  • Difficulty breathing or experiencing chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • A feeling of lightheadedness or that you might pass out

Cough or Sore Throat

Take your child to the pediatric ER if the cough or sore throat is accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Higher than 100.4 degrees for children younger than 3 months old
  • Higher than 102.2 degrees for children older than 3 months old
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muffled voice
  • Inability to open his or her mouth all the way
  • Significant swelling on one side of the throat, which may indicate an abscess of the tonsil


Mild fever is generally easy to treat at home with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicine. However, sometimes fever is an indicator of a more serious infection.

Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

Both vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms of food poisoning and the stomach flu, among other common ailments.

Our pediatric emergency room is conveniently located with our Adult ER and has a separate entrance for children and families. Our facility offers short wait times, kid-sized equipment, and cheerful decor.

Children need special attention, care, and even special doctors to ensure they are brought to full health as quickly and safely as possible. As a result, Sky Ridge Medical Center offers comprehensive pediatric services. We are open 24/7 and staffed with experienced pediatric doctors and nurses prepared to treat any medical emergency.

Kids are always in motion, and sometimes that motion results in an injury or illness. If your child needs immediate medical attention, bring him or her to the pediatric ER at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree for expert, compassionate care.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Sky Ridge is Here for You

Our dedicated Pediatric ER is here for you and your family... close to home.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children
at Sky Ridge Medical Center
10101 RidgeGate Parkwayโ€จ
Lone Tree, CO 80124
(720) 225-KIDZ (5439)