Don’t know when to take your toddler to the hospital for respiratory distress? Here are 5 tips to help make that tough decision.
- Watch his belly. Seems easy enough. The key is to know what his breathing looks like normally, so you have something to compare it too. I took a video of good breathing and bad and favorited on my phone, so I could find it easily. This helps me quickly determine what I am looking at.
- Count respirations per minute. Use your phone as a timer and time 30 seconds and count how many breaths. Then multiply that number by 2. That equals respirations per minute. Here is a chart from WebMD that lays out if they are breathing too fast by age.
- Use an o2 monitor. I have tried a few of these and here is the o2 meter I like the best. However, with small fingers, the reads are not always accurate. It’s important to know your child’s baseline with the specific device, what there o2 levels are when not sick. I have had this be super helpful and also get a false reading because his finger wasn’t in good enough.
- Call the on-call doctor. Every hospital has an on-call doctor or a nurse line and sometimes just talking it out can answer the questions for you.
- Trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone. I often second guess myself and have to remind myself I know when Dean needs extra support. And yes I have taken him to the ER when I didn’t need to, and I have taken him when we have been admitted to the PICU for four days. My thoughts are it is better to err on the side of taking your child over not.
Thanks so much for reading and please let me know if you have any helpful tips or tricks you use when deciding to go to the hospital or wait it out.
I created an easy print out with these steps. Print it and put it up somewhere or in your child’s medical folder for easy access.
Let’s keep doing it for our kids!