When Should Your Child Go to the Hospital?

Should I Take My Newborn to the ER?

During a baby's first 6 to 12 weeks, almost anything out of the ordinary qualifies as a possible emergency, including symptoms considered minor in older children, such as a fever of 100.5 degrees F. or higher, difficulty feeding, or a bump or bruise on the head. The reasons: The immature immune system doesn't fight infection well, so a minor illness can quickly become major; a not-yet-established sleep-wake schedule makes it hard to determine the reason for inconsolable crying; and the developing brain is more vulnerable. "Also, conditions such as heart or gastrointestinal problems not identified right after delivery might become evident now," says Kathy Shaw, MD, director of emergency medical services at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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