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For all medical emergencies, please call 911 or your local emergency access number.
The pediatric Emergency Department (ED) at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is fully equipped to handle any kind of pediatric emergency in children from birth to age 18.
Our ED offers the unique advantage of being Delaware’s only Pediatric Trauma Center. With rapid-response services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we care for children with serious illnesses or injuries from throughout the tri-state area and beyond.
When kids are hurt or sick, especially young children and infants, it takes specially-trained, experienced pediatric emergency medicine specialists who know what to look for — and who understand how to care for kids medical and emotional needs.
Pediatricians who are also trained in emergency medicine are better able to care for children than general emergency physicians. They understand what kids need — emotionally and physically. And they’re experienced and trained in how to deliver the safest, most kid-friendly care. If you’re looking for pediatric emergency care close to your own neighborhood, you can find our Nemours pediatric experts at these community hospitals near you.
We know that a trip to the emergency department can be stressful and scary, especially for kids. So here are some tips to help you feel a little more prepared about what to expect if you need to visit us in an emergency.
When you register at the front desk of the ED, please let us know if your primary care physician referred you to the emergency department and if you need interpreter services.
A triage nurse will greet you and assess your child’s condition, quickly deciding whether you need main ED services or Fast Track Urgent Care (which allows us to offer care in the ED for children with acute, non-life threatening injuries or illnesses).
Please understand that triage means that children with the most severe medical needs are seen first, regardless of when they arrive. After triage, you'll complete all of the necessary paper work (insurance confirmation, Consent for Treatment, HIPAA Privacy forms, etc.). If an examination room is ready, we’ll register your child at the bedside.
We’ll give you a pager to let you know when it’s your child’s turn to be seen. Please stay inside the hospital, going no further than the vending area, so you don’t miss your page. And please let us know if your child’s condition changes at any time. Although we do our best to move quickly, remember that we must see children in order of medical need, not arrival.
If you’re hungry or thirsty, vending machines and a café are nearby. Just be sure to ask the triage nurse before giving your child anything to eat or drink because it may interfere with necessary testing or procedures.
Your pediatric emergency physician will evaluate your child’s needs and order appropriate tests and treatments. To pass the time, we have bedside touch-screen computers featuring kid-friendly entertainment and interactive videos illustrating certain tests and procedures. You can also request to see a Child Life Specialist who can answer your questions, provide support, and offer appropriate play activities to help your child overcome anxiety.
While you’re in the exam room, feel free to use your cell phone, laptop, or other electronic device — but not during registration and the examination.
We have a medical imaging (radiology) room within the ED, which allows us to perform X-rays or other imaging tests (like CAT scans or MRIs) quickly and efficiently. A number of rapid tests also can be performed in the ED while others are sent to the main laboratory. And we have access to specialist consultations with physicians in all pediatric medical and surgical subspecialties if and when we need it.
After your exam and appropriate treatment, we’ll discharge your child for home. If more testing or observation is necessary, your child will be moved to an ED observation room for up to 24 hours. If an overnight stay is needed, your child will be admitted to the hospital and moved into an inpatient room on the second or third floor. Your primary care or referring physician will be continuously updated through our electronic medical record system, by phone and/or by fax.
Several days after your visit you can expect a patient satisfaction survey to come in the mail. We’d appreciate your honest feedback so we can make our patient experience even better.
To help prepare you and your child for what to expect in the event of an emergency, check out these articles from Nemours’ experts at KidsHealth.org (the most visited website in the world for children’s health information):
KidsHealth has also compiled a helpful, expansive collection of printable Instruction Sheets about common injuries and illnesses — and what to do when they happen.
Knowing how to stay safe is the best way to prevent injuries. From free child safety seat checks to community events, our Injury Prevention Program’s injury prevention coordinators are committed to decreasing the incidence of traumatic injuries in children. Check out our resources, videos and practical advice about how to keep children of all ages out of harm’s way:
Also be sure to bookmark the First Aid and Safety Center from Nemours’ experts at KidsHealth.org.
*Once they receive a badge, parents, guardians and other identified family care providers or visitors are welcome in the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (in accordance with patient and family preferences and the clinical judgment of the patient’s care team).
As Delaware’s only Pediatric Trauma Center, we’re recognized as the preferred pre-hospital (ground/air transport) and inter-facility transfer destination for injured kids throughout the state.
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