by Steph, NSW Ambulance Paramedic
Colds, coughs, asthma, flu, fevers, croup…Winter is that time of year that most parents dread, not just because their washing never dries, but more importantly because there is generally an increase in viruses and bacterial infections that cause children to become unwell.
Many parents often find themselves asking what is the right care for my sick child? Do I care for them at home or do I call Triple Zero (000)? Well, these two options are at opposite ends of a spectrum, which provides parents with a number of options in between.
- First and foremost for any life-threatening emergency including unconsciousness, chest pain, difficulty breathing and uncontrollable bleeding call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
- For minor ailments, make an appointment and visit your GP during normal business hours.
- If your child becomes unwell during the night, weekends or public holidays (which always happens!) and you believe they cannot wait to see their GP, you can call a home doctor service such as the National Home Doctor Service on 13 7425. They also have an app that you can book through.
- Care for your child at home and monitor for any deterioration in their condition.
- If you‘re unsure what clinical care is required, first call Health Direct on 1800 022 222. This is a free 24-hour clinical telephone advice service staffed by qualified nurses.
So when should I call 000?
All too often we hear people saying they were reluctant to call Triple Zero (000) due to fear they will be wasting paramedics time. On the other side, NSW Ambulance also receives calls for conditions that would be better treated by another pathway. NSW Ambulance encourages the community to consider if their URGENCY is actually an EMERGENCY before calling Triple Zero (000). This handy chart has been designed to help!
You can call Triple Zero (000) if you are still unsure what care your child needs. Our Triple Zero (000) call takers are highly trained and will make sure you get the right care for the right condition -whether that be a stretcher and paramedic, treatment and transport to an ED or referral to a more appropriate service.
For more information, please visit www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au