Dr. Kym Selden

When your child isn’t feeling well and your pediatrician’s office has closed, you’re left with a decision: Can this wait until the morning, or does my child need to be seen right away?

Dr. Kym Selden, a pediatrician with Novant Health Pediatrics Concord says the answer isn’t always clear-cut. However, there are some general tips to help you make your decision.

Novant Health GoHealth Urgent Care

Fortunately, most cases don’t warrant a trip to the emergency room. “If your child is not experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms, an urgent care is likely your best option,” Selden said. “A good rule of thumb is that if it’s something you’d take your child to their pediatrician for during normal daytime hours, and you can’t wait until the next day, a pediatric urgent care is the appropriate place to seek care.”

Novant Health GoHealth Urgent Care centers offer a cost-saving alternative to the emergency room for injuries and illnesses that do not require 911. Novant Health has two pediatric after hours clinics: Novant Health Pediatrics After Hours Care – Carmel in Charlotte and Novant Health Forsyth Pediatrics After Hours in Kernersville.

“During sick visits, I give parents red flags to look for so they know what to do if ‘X’, ‘Y’, or ‘Z’ happens later on,” Selden added. “It helps to have a road map if the child’s symptoms change or worsen.”

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Expanding access to convenient care

Novant Health is a partner of GoHealth Urgent Care, one of the country's largest and fastest growing urgent care companies. The urgent cares will be equipped to care for everyday illnesses and non-life-threatening injuries and include on-site laboratory and X-Ray services. Find one near you.

When the 'ER' is the right call

“If your child is not breathing, is in severe pain or is nonresponsive, call 911 right away,” Selden said.

There are other warning signs to watch for, Selden said, that would require emergency medical attention. These signs include one or more of the following:

  • Breathing that is labored or fast, or if the child has trouble breathing.
  • Severe or persistent vomiting, or vomiting blood (red or brown) or bile (green).
  • Bleeding that will not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure.
  • Pain that is not relieved with over the counter pain medications.
  • Fainting, loss of consciousness or a seizure.
  • Confusion or vomiting after a head injury.
When it comes to fevers, the answer isn’t the same for everyone. A fever 100.4 degrees and above in an infant less than three months of age is considered an emergency, but it’s less of a concern for older babies and children. Anytime you are concerned that the fever could be part of a more serious illnesses (e.g., associated with headache, rash, significant coughing, sore throat, vomiting, etc.), you should seek medical care.

“Trust your gut,” Selden adds. “If you think your child needs to be seen immediately, don’t hesitate.”

The pediatric emergency department at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital is staffed round-the-clock with board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians to care for the most serious illnesses and injuries.