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Pediatric emergency care

Specialized staff provides pediatric emergency care in a kid-friendly emergency room (ER). These highly trained pediatric doctors and nurses use child-sized medical equipment to evaluate and treat your child for medical emergencies.

Pediatric emergency room (ER) in Asheville, North Carolina

If your child is seriously injured or ill, our skilled providers are standing by.

The highly skilled doctors and nurses at Mission Hospital's kid-friendly ER offer swift, reliable care when your child needs it most. Our emergency department is designed to make your child feel safe, so they can get the personalized treatment they deserve.

When to come to the pediatric ER

For severe and life-threatening emergencies, seek treatment at our pediatric ER. Symptoms and conditions best treated with pediatric emergency care include:

  • Alcohol or drug overdose
  • Allergic reactions
  • Breathing problems
  • Broken bones
  • Chest pain
  • Concussions
  • Coughing
  • Deep wounds
  • Dizziness, weakness and confusion
  • Fainting
  • Head injuries
  • Heavy bleeding
  • High, uncontrolled fever
  • Inhaled smoke or toxic fumes
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Persistent vomiting and diarrhea
  • Poisoning
  • Severe burns
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Vomiting blood

Our kid-focused emergency program

The pediatric ER offers full-service pediatric emergency care, treating a range of conditions — from serious illnesses to life-threatening injuries — for children of all ages.

Comprehensive emergency care for kids

Located within our main hospital emergency unit, our child-focused ER is equipped to meet essential guidelines for pediatric care. We have child-sized medical equipment and resources to provide a safe and family-centered emergency experience, including:

  • 24/7 care, 365 days a year, and a pediatric ER open from 11:00am to 11:00pm
  • Access to pediatric specialists in our main hospital
  • Computerized drug dosages for safety
  • Kid-friendly rooms and a dedicated waiting room for family
  • Pain management techniques
  • Pediatric Child Life Specialists
  • Registered, emergency-trained nurses
  • Seamless admission if inpatient care is required
  • Specialty pediatric ground transport team

Air transport program

Our hospital offers a dedicated air transport service that's available 24/7 every day of the year. Mountain Area Medical Airlift — affectionately called MAMA — will send a pediatric or infant transport team to patients in need within a 150-mile radius of our hospital. This team of emergency experts stays in constant contact with doctors and nurses at the hospital who are ready to begin treatment as soon as MAMA arrives with your child.

Symptoms that may need emergency care

Any time your child is ill or injured, you might be unsure if they need to visit the ER. If you're unsure, there are common symptoms that, when severe, warrant emergency care.

High fever in children

In children, fever is usually the sign of a harmless viral infection and very rarely (about 1 in 100) indicates a severe illness. However, there are times when a fever warrants immediate medical attention. You should bring your child to the ER for a fever if they:

  • Are less than three months old and have a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
  • Are immunocompromised
  • Have concerning symptoms (lethargy, unexplained rash, repeated vomiting or diarrhea, severe stomach pain)
  • Are an older child with a fever 102°F or above and doesn't respond to medication or lasts for more than three days or one that consistently spikes to 103°F or higher

Broken bones in children

Unless it's a really obvious break, it's often hard to diagnose a fractured bone without an X-ray and a medical exam. Children who exhibit any of the following symptoms may have a fractured or broken bone and should be seen right away. Seek immediate treatment if your child:

  • Has intense pain or pain that lasts longer than a few days after a fall or injury
  • Has numbness and tingling
  • Has swelling, bruising, or bleeding
  • Is not using or is favoring the non-injured limb
  • Is too young to talk and keeps pointing to a body part or cries when it is moved or touched
  • Is unable to walk or is walking crooked

Stomach pain in children

Stomach pain is among the top reasons for ER visits for both adults and children. More correctly termed abdominal pain, it has a long list of potential causes — from benign (too much candy or fried food) to life-threatening (appendicitis). It's often hard to know when to "tough it out" and when to seek treatment. For children, especially infants and babies too young to tell you what's wrong, you should seek immediate treatment if your child has stomach pain, that is:

  • Accompanied by a high fever
  • Accompanied by other serious or unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or change in their behavior
  • Accompanied by repeated vomiting (babies younger than three months who are vomiting or having diarrhea should be seen right away)
  • Localized to one particular area (e.g., the lower right quadrant could indicate appendicitis)
  • Prolonged, lasting 24 hours or more
  • Severe (infants and babies are inconsolable)

Breathing problems in children

If your child is having trouble breathing, call 911.

Breathing problems can have huge impacts and need to be taken seriously. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can start emergency breathing treatment on the way to the hospital. These symptoms could indicate asthma or a serious respiratory infection:

  • Barking noise that accompanies a cough
  • Bluish, purplish or grayish skin, especially around the lips, inside the mouth and around the fingernails
  • Breathing fast, shortness of breath or shallow breathing
  • Can't breathe through nose and mouth
  • Coughing that lasts more than three weeks
  • Having an asthma attack
  • Unresponsiveness, incoherence, confusion, agitation or dizziness
  • Wheezing or raspy breathing

Please remember that you know your child better than anyone. Sometimes you just know something is wrong. Even if your child's symptoms fall outside of the guidelines, listen to your parental intuition if you think immediate medical care is necessary.

An ER just for kids

Our pediatric ER is designed for children. It includes kid-sized equipment and helpful, friendly staff who specialize in treating your growing child.

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