Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Home / A–Z Services / Emergency Medicine / Emergency Services / Emergency Room or After-Hours Clinic?
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Emergency Room or After-Hours Clinic?


How do you determine if a medical need is an emergency? You want immediate treatment and healing for your child, but sometimes it's difficult to determine if the situation is a true emergency.

What is an emergency?

Children’s Hospital strongly advises you to talk with your child’s pediatrician about what to do in an emergency situation. It is far easier to process important information in a leisurely manner than during high-stress, life-threatening circumstances.

Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for help if you are concerned that your child's life may be in danger or that your child is seriously ill or injured.

What kinds of symptoms require emergency treatment?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you seek emergency treatment if your child shows any of the following signs:

  • Acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert
  • Decreasing response when you talk to your child
  • Unconsciousness or lack of response
  • Rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness (a seizure)
  • Increasing trouble with breathing
  • Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray
  • Neck stiffness or rash with fever
  • Increasing or severe persistent pain
  • A cut or burn that is large, deep, or involves the head, chest, or abdomen
  • Bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure for five minutes
  • A burn that is large or involves the hands, groin, or face
  • Any loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, or vomiting after a head injury
  • Suspected child sexual abuse (Visit the Our Kids Center website to learn more about what you can do if you suspect abuse has taken place.)

When should you go to our After-Hours Clinic?

Our After-Hours Clinics are for non-life threatening problems that happen when your child's doctor is not available. Our pediatricians diagnose and treat:

  • Sore throats and ear infections
  • Rashes and skin infections
  • Gastrointestinal illnesses, such as vomiting and diarrhea with mild dehydration
  • Respiratory problems, such as coughs, asthma, and croup
  • Evaluation and splinting of injuries to arms and legs with coordination of orthopaedist appointment (next business day) if needed
  • Simple wounds
  • Foreign objects in ears and noses
  • Other illnesses and injuries including colds and allergies

Call your Poison Center at once if your child has swallowed a suspected poison or another person’s medication, even if your child has no signs or symptoms.

Tennessee and Kentucky Poison Center Hotline: 800-222-1222

Last Edited: August 31, 2016
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