Is rushing your child to the ER the right response?

If a child gets a small burn from a hot pan, starts choking or swallows medication, parents may struggle to decide whether to provide first aid at home or rush them to the hospital, suggests a new national poll.

Only half of parents were confident that they would know what to do if their child were choking and 1 in 10 parents would immediately take their child to the ER for a minor burn, according to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. Nearly a third of parents would take their child to the emergency room for swallowed pills.

The nationally representative survey includes responses from 386 parents with least one child ages 0-5.

“When young children experience urgent medical situations, parents have to make decisions about whether to administer first aid at home, call for advice or seek emergency care,” says Gary Freed, M.D., M.P.H., a Mott professor of pediatrics and the poll’s co-director.

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