Our First Trip to The ER

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I have been pretty lucky as a mom. My son has mostly only been to the doctor for his scheduled checkups and has over all been pretty healthy. When he was about 15 months his winning streak changed and we had to make an unexpected trip to the Emergency Room.

The little guy hadn’t been himself all day. I had a feeling he was getting sick but he didn’t have a very high temperature. I decided to give him a dose of baby Advil or Infant Tylenol before bed and that seemed to do the trick. He went to bed without any issues at all. I was running around after he was in bed doing dishes and laundry didn’t think much more about how he was feeling hoping that he would sleep it off. About 9 o’clock my husband headed downstairs to his man cave and I settled into the couch to watch something on HBO likely.  About 10 o’clock I was getting ready for bed with the baby monitor in hand. As soon as I had my pyjamas on I heard something on the monitor that sounded like knocking.  My gut told me instantly that something was wrong. I give TONS of credit to my Motorola MBP16 Audio Monitor. When I went in to check MY BABY was having a seizure with his head banging on the crib and I went into complete INSTINCT mode. I picked him up and put him on the floor in the hallway where there was light and yelled at my husband at the top of my lungs “CALL 911!!!”

My husband ran up the stairs as fast as he could grabbed the phone and ran to where I was with the baby on the floor (still convulsing) and communicated between myself and the dispatch person. The longest minutes of my life that felt like hours as he reassured me that help was on the way. It didn’t feel like very long our local police department were walking through the door. At this point the seizure subsided but my little boy was whimpering on the floor like I had never seen before. I could tell that he was warmer than normal and that something wasn’t right. I kept repeating over and over “Its OK baby, you are going to be alright.” In hindsight I feel kind of embarrassed about that but in the moment there wasn’t anything else I could do as we waited for the paramedics. When they finally arrived they checked him over and decided to take him to the hospital as a precaution.

I grabbed my coat without thinking that I was still in my pyjamas (shorts and a tank top) and followed my baby boy on the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. My husband hopped into our car and followed us on the 20 minute drive to the local hospital. Longest 20 minute ride of my life (followed in a close second to the drive to the very same hospital to have him only a year and a bit prior) but I was glad he was on his way to see the doctors. At this point he was scared. He cried the whole way there even with the amazing paramedic trying to cheer him up with a teddy bear. He was unconsolable. My poor boy seemed as though he had woken up and became aware of all of what was happening and he did not like it at all. It was like waking up to a horrible dream. We finally arrived at the hospital and waited only a little while before a doctor came to check him out. The doctor assured us that he was fine and that it is common for babies to have seizures when they have high fevers. These are called febrile seizures. I went through the timeline of our evening and the doctor explained that I probably didn’t give little man the correct dose of Advil for Infants or Tylenol.

My baby at this point had come around and was smiling and flirting with the nurses like his usual self. I can’t recall (as it was so long ago) if I had given him Tylenol or Advil but it was right around the time of a huge Canadian recall of children’s Advil and in hindsight I wonder now if I had one of the recalled bottles? It isn’t important anyway because it all turned out in the end. No harm done but a big wake up call for all of us!

I thought it would be a good time to go over what to do if your baby has a fever. You can never go over this info enough! Be prepared so you aren’t caught off guard! I got this information from The College of Family Physicians  of Canada website so be sure to check what applies where you are from.

Most Doctors would consider a fever a temperature over 37.5°C (99.5°F) when taken orally (by way of the mouth). It is also important to remember that a fever is the way the body is naturally trying to fight whatever the cause is so try to remember it will be more scary for you than it is actually dangerous! The site says:

“If your child is between 3 months of age and 4 years of age and has a low-grade fever (up to 37.8°C [100.2°F]), you may want to avoid giving him or her medicine. If your child is achy and fussy, and his or her temperature is above 37.8°C (100.2°F), you may want to give him or her some medicine.”

The site also recommends the following for dosing of Tylenol (or Acetaminophen):



Acetaminophen dose (every 4 hours)

0 to 3 months Less than 13 pounds Ask your family doctor
4 to 7 months 13 to 17 pounds 80 mg
8 to 18 months 18 to 23 pounds 120 mg
1.5 to 3 years 24 to 32 pounds 160 mg
4 to 5 years 33 to 45 pounds 240 mg
6 to 7 years 46 to 61 pounds 320 mg
8 to 9 years 62 to 78 pounds 400 mg
10 to 11 years 79 to 98 pounds 480 mg
12 years or older 99 pounds or more 650 mg

It is also recommended that no matter what to keep your child well hydrated and comfortable. You should call the doctor in the following situations:

  • Under one month old. Call your doctor right away if your baby’s temperature goes over 38.0°C (100.4°F) orally or 38.5° C (101.3°F) rectally, even if he or she doesn’t seem sick. Your doctor may want to see your baby and may want to put him or her in the hospital to find out what’s causing the fever. Babies this young can get very sick, very quickly. Also call your doctor if your baby has any of the warning signs listed below, even if he or she isn’t running a fever.
  • One to three months old. Call your doctor if your baby has a temperature of 38.5°C (101.4°F) even if your baby doesn’t seem sick, or a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) that has lasted more than 24 hours. Also, call if your baby has any of the warning signs listed below.
  • Three months to two years. If your child has a fever of 38.6°C (101.4°F), watch how he or she acts. Call the doctor if the fever rises or lasts for more than three days, or if your child has any of the warning signs listed below. If the temperature is 39°C (103°F), call your doctor even if your child seems to feel fine.
  • Over two years old. If your child has a fever of 38.6°C (101.4°F), watch how he or she acts. Call the doctor if the fever rises or lasts more than three days, or if your child has any of the warning signs listed below.

Call your doctor if your child has any of these warning signs:

  • Changes in behaviour
  • Severe headache
  • Constant vomiting or diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat that doesn’t improve
  • Earache that doesn’t improve or pulling at ears
  • Stiff neck
  • Fever persisting over several days
  • Stomach pain
  • High-pitched crying
  • Swelling on the soft spot on the head
  • Irritable
  • Unresponsive or limp
  • Not hungry
  • Wheezing or problems breathing
  • Pale
  • Whimpering
  • Seizures
  • Sore or swollen joints

I hope this helps you to know what to do with a sick baby. I also hope that you never have to go through what my family did that night!


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