Your baby has a temperature of 101 degrees. Do you wait to see if it subsides? Do you speed to the hospital right away? How can you avoid being either an overprotective parent or a neglectful caretaker?
"Many people are afraid of being labeled an incompetent parent," says Vicki Lansky, author of Practical Parenting Tips (Meadowbrook Press).
"But you can't run off to the emergency room every time your child sneezes," Lansky says. "Nor can you ignore warning signs that something serious may be happening. Until you become an experienced parent, you need some guidelines."
Practical Parenting Tips has sold 700,000 copies. From her book, Lansky offers some tips on when your baby's condition is too severe to be ignored. She recommends that you take your child to the doctor, or call a nurse hotline, under the following conditions:
Your child's rectal temperature is 101 degrees or greater.
An illness new to your baby afflicts him. This is true even for his first cold.
Your child has diarrhea.
Your child has constipation that lasts for several days.
You notice blood-tinged urine or feces coming out of your child.
There are significant changes in your child's skin color, breathing, behavior or activity.
Your child is feeding poorly. This can take the form of the baby stopping his usual vigorous sucking during feeding.
Your child has a relentless or unusual cry. Pay attention if the cry is hoarse or husky.
Your child is listless, especially if she is usually active or alert. Watch out for unusual drowsiness that lasts a long time.
Convulsions, fits or spells are bothering your child. Stiffening or uncontrollable twitching needs to be investigated.
Your child projectile vomits, or his vomit is green.
Your child has redness around, or discharge from, her eyes.
Fluid is draining from your child's ears. Your child may pull at his ear or constantly turn his head. He may even cry when coughing.
An unfamiliar, serious-looking rash breaks out on your child.
Your child suffers an injury in which the pain doesn't cease after fifteen minutes.
Your child has an adverse reaction to an immunization. Symptoms of a bad reaction include a fever, a rash, swelling at the injection site or relentless crying.
If any of these conditions exist, it' s time for you to seek medical assistance. Don't worry. No one will think you're overreacting.
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4/30/2004 11:20:24 AM