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Emergency

We provide acute care for babies, children and youth who are sick or injured and need pediatric emergency care.
About

British Columbia Children's Hospital Emergency department is the province's only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma center and provides care to more than 43, 000 patients annually from across the province. 

We assess and treat pediatric patients up to 16 years of age who present with acute medical, surgical and mental health illnesses or injuries.

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether your child has a serious problem. One in three children who come to Emergency could be managed well by a community physician or in a community health centre.  

Take your child immediately to Emergency or call 911 if your child:

  • Is having difficulty breathing
  • Has blue lips or skin, or appears very pale
  • Is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever
  • Is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit
  • Has diarrhea and vomiting and is not producing tears, and has not urinated for several hours
  • Has a high fever, appears very sleepy, and has not improved with acetominophen (Tylenol) or ibupfrofen (Advil).
  • Is under three months of age and has a fever of greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F)
The Emergency Department is busier than usual & there can be long waits. Determine whether your child needs complex or emergency care or other care services.

When you get here 

When you arrive at emergency, you will see a triage nurse who will provide an initial assessment that the healthcare team uses to determine which patients are seen first. Children with life-threatening illnesses or injuries are seen first. 

We appreciate how stressful a visit to the emergency may be for your child/youth and you.  We try to see all of our patients as quickly as possible while maintaining high quality care.  If you feel that your child’s health situation has changed while you are waiting, please tell a nurse right away.

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Medical advice

Take your child to a family doctor/walk-in clinic or urgent/primary care centre for non-life threatening illness or injuries:

  • rash
  • pink eye
  • earache
  • cough, cold, sore throat
  • fever in child 3 months or older
  • strain or sprain
For a mental health crisis, in Vancouver Coastal Health, you can contact the Child and Adolescent Response Team (CART) and in Fraser Health Authority, you can contact The Short Term, Assessment, Response, Treatment (START) Team.

If your child is not seriously ill but you still need medical advice, you can contact some of the resources in your community.

  • Your primary care physician’s office. If your primary care physician is not available, often their office answering service will indicate who is on call for them. 
  • If you do not have a primary care physician, you can call or visit: 
    • HealthLink BC (8-1-1-) for immediate health advice from a registered nurse. HealthLink is also available online at www.healthlinkbc.ca
    • Poison Control Centre: 1-800-567-8911 FREE.
    • Your local Community Health Centre (see telephone listing for Clinics in the yellow pages) www.yellowpages.ca 
    • Family Medical Centre (also see telephone listing for Clinics in the yellow pages) www.yellowpages.ca which can assist with minor emergencies such as stitches & some casting.
Safety

Infection control

If your child has been exposed to one of the following, please report directly to the nurse’s station desk upon entering the Emergency Department:

  • Chickenpox
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • MRSA
  • COVID-19

Hand-washing is the best way to avoid passing on germs. Please wash your hands before and after being in the Emergency Department. There are also Microsan stations with disinfecting hand lotion available on site for your use. 

Safety

To ensure the safety of your children, please keep them with you at all times. 

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