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It is unusual for babies to suddenly become very sick.

If your baby does get sick, it is best to call your pediatrician first. Call the UF Health Jacksonville Pediatric Emergency Center at 904-244-5243 after hours or on weekends, or if you cannot reach your baby’s doctor.

Early recognition and treatment may stop an illness or injury from getting worse or turning into an emergency.

What is considered an emergency?

It is an emergency when you believe a serious illness or injury is threatening your baby’s health or may cause permanent damage.

Your baby may show any of the following signs:

  • Unconsciousness or no response when you talk to him or her
  • Regular jerking and/or loss of consciousness (a seizure)
  • Acting strangely (not normal) or becoming more withdrawn and less alert
  • Episodes of apnea (completely stops breathing), particularly if associated with a change in color (blue or pale) or a change in muscle tone (baby is stiff or limp)
  • Increasing efforts to breathe or trouble breathing
  • Skin or lips look blue, purple or gray
  • Neck stiffness or a rash with a fever
  • Increasing or severe, constant pain
  • High-pitch, constant cry (a pain cry) and irritability
  • Fever in babies under 2 months of age (rectal temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees F)
  • Loss of consciousness, confusion, headache (noted by excessive crying) or throwing up after a head injury
  • A cut that is large or deep, or involves the head, chest or abdomen
  • Bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure for 5 minutes
  • A burn that is large and/or on the hands, feet, groin, chest or face
  • Poisoning*

Many emergencies involve sudden injuries that can be caused by:

  • Falls
  • Burns or smoke inhalation
  • Near drowning (usually in bath tubs)
  • Choking
  • Firearms or other weapons
  • Electrical shocks
  • Poisoning*

The staff at the UF Health Jacksonville Pediatric Emergency Center is specially trained to care for critically ill and injured babies and children. They will work closely with your baby’s pediatrician to provide your baby with the best medical care.

* Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if your baby has swallowed a suspected poison or another person’s medicine, even if your baby shows no signs or symptoms.