This piece first appeared on Points in Case here: A Guide to Determining Whether You Should Take Your Child to the Emergency Room
Every parent knows the difficulties and health concerns that arise raising children. There are high fevers, mystery viruses, vomiting, breaks, sprains, tears, concussions. There are all kinds of things that can harm a kid and lead to the age-old question: “Should I take my child to the ER?” Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help determine whether a hospital trip is needed.
What is the severity of my child’s illness/injury?
The first thing you as a parent must do is determine how sick your child really is or how badly he or she is hurt before you determine if a trip to the ER is necessary. Does your child have a high fever? 104, 105 and not dropping, even with fever reducers? That might just warrant a trip. Is your child vomiting to the point of possible dehydration? I something obviously broken? Did your child lose consciousness? Is anything severely discolored or swollen? If you answered yes to any of these things, you may want to consider a trip to the emergency room.
Do I have good insurance?
Your insurance coverage is a huge variable in this equation. What kind of coverage do you have? Is it a high deductible, and how much of your deductible have you already paid? Do you have an ER copay, or will this visit be out of pocket? If you sprung for the good insurance at work, you will probably be ok, but, if not, you have some pretty serious things to think about.
When do I get paid again?
What is your payroll schedule? Do you get paid weekly, biweekly, monthly? How close are you to your next paycheck? Can you make it to the next payday if you have to pay out of pocket? This ER trip may mean you are not able to eat out as much—or eat in as much—for a few days. You need to be aware of that.
Is there anything on my vehicle or in my home that I think is about to malfunction?
It is impossible to see the future, but, if your brake pads have mostly disintegrated or your transmission is on its last leg, that is something to consider. If your house is a brisk 56 degrees in the middle of winter or your roof leaks every time it rains, you know those problems will only get worse sooner or later. You have to be able to stop and shift gears, and space heaters and buckets only help for so long. Make sure to consider these things before making your final determination.
Do I have wealthy parents?
They would help if it came down to it, right? They would not want to see their own grandchild suffer. If your parents have money, you are three steps ahead of the game. Make sure to offer to pay them back though, or you will forever be labeled an entitled millennial or something.
Do I know how to set up a GoFundMe page?
This is necessary.
Am I in a developed country other than the United States?
If you answered yes to this question, you can probably disregard the previous ones. Play it safe, and go to the ER. This is a child’s health, after all.
If you have asked yourself these questions and feel comfortable with how you answered them, then you should be good to take your child to the ER. If you do not feel good about your answers to some, most, or all, hopefully everything will just work itself out. Best of luck to you. It will probably be fine.