pediatric emergency center

Top 5 Reasons to Visit a Pediatric Emergency Center

It can be very scary when your child becomes so sick or faces a serious injury and he or she needs to be seen in a hospital emergency center. But as a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, I can tell you—we are well prepared and equipped for treating the tiniest of patients to up to 21 years old.

Below are the Top 5 reasons you should visit a pediatric-specific hospital if your child needs emergent care.

1.) We are Specialty Trained Pediatric Experts.

Kids are not small adults. They have different physiology and medical conditions. We received three years of general pediatric training followed by three years of fellowship training. That is six full years specializing in pediatric care when we first start, on top of the years of experience we gain throughout our careers.

Our nurses are also trained to take care of kids, and have special ways to keep them comfortable. We really feel like we're the best people to take care of small kids who are sick.

2.) We have Pediatric-sized Equipment and are Experts in Medicine Dosage.

The IVs, needles and tubes are specially sized for our patients. Most adult hospitals do not have these. The medications that we give are weight based, and we do this every single day, so it’s second nature to determine weight-based doses.

3.) Less need for Radiation-related Testing.

We use national pediatric guidelines and evidence-based information to guide care. Compared to non-pediatric emergency departments, we can often evaluate kids without the use of radiation.

For example, if we suspect a child with appendicitis, instead of a CAT scan, we can do an ultrasound. If we do need to use radiation, we're able to dial down the amount that the kids are receiving, so that it's less than some adult hospitals.

4.) Our Child Life team makes a Big Difference.

We have specialty trained experts called Child Life specialists who can help comfort and educate kids, parents and even siblings. They can also help advocate for comfort during procedures and make sure that everyone feels good moving forward.

We also have a facility dog, Brea, in our hospital, who is actually an employee! She is specifically trained to be there for kids during procedures and tests. A lot of times we're able to skip having to use sedation or medications because she provides great distraction and comfort for the patient.

5.) Last, but not least: Popsicles and Prizes!

I think what popsicles and prizes stand for in the emergency department shows how different we are from other hospitals. Popsicles are really important to encourage children to eat and stay hydrated, but it's also a symbol of how focused we are on the child’s experience, including their comfort, safety and overall experience.

We also have really fun toys and prizes for kids that can act as a distraction and also hopefully diminish any negative feelings or any discomfort they endured during the visit. The kids really enjoy getting a little toy and it allows for a more positive experience in the emergency center.

For more information about the emergency center at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, visit our emergency medicine page.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit a Pediatric Emergency Center

Dr. Martin is an emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She trained in general pediatrics at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida and completed a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.

*Presented by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital