Health, wellness

Knowing When to Call the Pediatrician – Essential Guidelines for Parents

when to call the pediatrician

Sometimes it’s so confusing for parents to understand when kids need the doctor or when the situation can be handled at home. But when your baby gets sick and cries at 2 a.m., do you call the pediatrician or wait until morning?

For most people, it’s normal to understand that your baby is ill. In other cases, parents feel something doesn’t look good or are unsure whether something is normal or not; in that situation, they should follow their intuition.

Here are a few key symptoms that will assist you in deciding when to pick up your phone and call your pediatrician.

When Should I Take My Sick Child to the Doctor?

We’ve gathered the top 6 concerns children usually suffer and where you should contact your pediatrician. So, without wasting time, let’s have a look at below.

Colds and Other Respiratory Infections

Parents get used to seeing colds and other respiratory infections in their kids. They often get up to eight colds yearly, typically caused by viruses. The colds usually last around 10 days. During the first 3 days, your child may have a fever.

The clear nasal discharge may turn thick, green, or yellow as the fever goes away. This change is because the body’s infection-fighting cells are doing their job, not necessarily because it’s a bacterial infection.

However, if the fever lasts more than 3 days or if the symptoms worsen, you should see your pediatrician. Your child might have developed an ear infection or another bacterial illness. Below are some signs of infections:

  • If your child has difficulty breathing at any point, call the doctor immediately.
  • Look for signs like flaring nostrils.
  • Sucking in the ribs with each breath, funny noises, or wheezing. These could indicate a more serious issue that requires medical care.


Regarding what temperature to call pediatrician, fever is the most common concern in most children. But to handle the fever depends on the kid’s age. Sometimes babies can have a severe infection, which is also a sign of fever. You should contact the pediatrician when your child’s temperature is high; they will conduct blood and urine tests and a spinal tap.

Moreover, there are also other clues than checking the temperature in a thermometer. The most important thing you’ll see is that your kid gets irritated, constantly cries, won’t eat, don’t act regularly. These are some of the conditions in which you should call doctors.

Consider the below conditions to know when to call pediatrician for fever:

  • If the fever is more than 104°F.
  • For babies under 3 months old, any fever above 100.4°F requires immediate medical attention.
  • If the fever doesn’t go down after giving over-the-counter medication like Tylenol.
  • Pay attention if your child has other symptoms along with the fever, such as ear pain, sore throat, stiff neck, or headache.


Parents consider rashes the toughest symptom to figure out because rashes come in different forms, and there are many possible reasons for causing them. If your child has a rash that doesn’t bother them, it’s usually not something to worry about.

However, if the rash doesn’t disappear after a few days, you should call your pediatrician. Rashes with a fever are a more significant concern because they mean your child has an infection. Here are other possible symptoms to tell your doctor about are:

  • A rash that is oozing or weeping.
  • The blisters rash or look bubbly.
  • If the rash resembles a bull’s eye or a target.
  • Swollen bumps on the skin, the child has difficulty breathing, or their face swelling.
  • If the child with the rash looks sick or is not behaving like their usual self.

Stomach Bugs

As we’re considering when to call the pediatrician, it’s normal if kids vomit multiple times in 24 hours and may have fever and diarrhea. But if they vomit for more than 24 hours, can’t even keep down small sips of liquids, or vomit bright green liquid (bile).

You should immediately inform your pediatrician. This is important because it could mean that your child is getting dehydrated. Below are some signs of dehydration:

You can check for signs of dehydration, like not having a wet diaper every four to six hours, having dry lips and mouth, not having tears when crying, a sunken fontanelle (soft spot) in infants, or looking weak and sleepy.

Getting medical help to ensure your child is okay and has no more serious problem than a stomach bug is essential.

Other signs of dehydration include:

  • Less pee than usual, with fewer than 6 wet diapers per day.
  • Urine appears dark in color.
  • If your child has dry, cracked lips and a dry mouth.
  • When eyes look sunken.
  • Cranky or irritable.
  • If there is a sunken soft spot on top of the baby’s head (for babies younger than 18 months).


This is another concern to understand more about when to call the pediatrician. Irritability happens most time in little ones, and even older kids may get irritable for several reasons, such as being tired or hungry. But there are also times it could be a signature of a sickness.

Besides that, when you call the doctor, try to provide details to help the physician assess the situation. Tell them about your kid’s health problems, how long they’ve been feeling sick, and how bad your symptoms are. Giving the doctor a clear picture of what’s happening will help them understand your situation better.

You can call the doctor in the following situations:

  • Your baby is unhappy.
  • Your kid is crying much more than expected.
  • Additional symptoms, such as fever or headache.


If your child falls from a high place or loses consciousness, has a seizure or a severe headache, is vomiting, is exceptionally sleepy, walks strangely or off balance, is confused, or is very irritable, you should go to the pediatrician right away and consider going to the emergency room.

Additionally, the head is a sensitive area with many blood vessels so a bump might cause swelling. If the bump is tender, feels spongy, or is more than a minor bump, it’s best to call your pediatrician to decide if your child needs to be seen by a doctor.

Here are the conditions when you should need medical attention:

  • If your baby has more than just a minor bump
  • If your child fell from a height over 3 feet
  • If you notice any new or ongoing symptoms.

Final Words

Lastly, as parents, it’s important to be aware of the essential guidelines for calling the pediatrician. While it’s always better to err on the side of caution, it’s equally crucial not to panic and call the doctor for every little thing. By following the tips and guidelines mentioned above, you can ensure that your child gets the proper care at the right time.

On the other hand, the most popular pediatrician in Canton, US, prides herself in ensuring your child gets the best medical care from birth and as they grow. Remember, a little alertness can go a long way in keeping your child healthy and happy!


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