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When to bring your child to the BC Children's Hospital Emergency Department

Having a sick child can be stressful, but it helps to know when it’s time to seek emergency treatment.
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Emergency departments can be busy and sometimes, to avoid long unnecessary waits, your child’s illness could best be treated at a doctor's office, a walk-in clinic or an Urgent Primary Care Centre. If your child is not seriously ill, contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for immediate health advice.  

Take your child to the emergency department if they have:

  • a persistent high fever for more than four days
  • excessive coughing, especially with a fever
  • an injured limb that looks swollen or crooked
  • not urinated within 12 hours and have stopped drinking fluids
  • blue lips and skin that appears pale
  • trouble breathing, especially with rapid or laboured breathing patterns
  • excessive vomiting, particularly if it is bright green or there is blood in the vomit
  • ingested a toxic chemical, including a suspected drug or alcohol overdose
Watch out for head injuries and bring your child to emergency if they have:

  • fallen more than five feet or 1.5 metres
  • started vomiting after a head injury
  • a visible bump after a head injury and the child is less than three months old
  • lost consciousness 

Mental Health emergency:

  • If your child is thinking about or trying to end their life, get urgent help by calling 9-1-1 or 1-800-SUICIDE.

App to access doctors:

Regular app hours (holidays may affect these times):

  • Monday-Friday: 8am-9pm
  • Saturday: 8am-6pm
  • Sunday: 8am-4pm

BC Children's Hospital
Children's Health
SOURCE: When to bring your child to the BC Children's Hospital Emergency Department ( )
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