While there are many different acute and chronic conditions that may
affect your child and require medical attention, this section addresses
those that we see most frequently in our emergency room and on an
inpatient basis. Please remember that this information is not meant to
replace that provided by your health care professional, but has been
written as a general guide to help you make more informed decisions
about your child’s health care.
As many parents can attest, illness and injuries can happen any time
including after hours, on weekends, and holidays. When your child
becomes sick or injured, you've got to quickly decide where to take
them. You can take comfort knowing you have access to a dedicated
pediatric emergency department at Bryn Mawr Hospital, so close to home.
Our pediatric Emergency Department (ED) team has advanced training and
certification to care for children with the following injuries and
Burns are often categorized as first-, second-, or third-degree,
depending on how badly the skin is damaged. Each of the injuries above
can cause any of these three types of burns. The type of burn and its
cause will determine how the burn is treated.
All burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the
burned area and reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue (if the
burn is severe).
A child’s airways can be blocked by food, toys, buttons, insects and
crayons and other objects in the ear, nose or airway. A child can
suffocate when the airway is blocked. Children may also swallow water
and choke, or drown in pools and lakes.
Falls, sporting activities, bicycle accidents or similar activities that
result in a break in a bone. If the broken bone punctures the skin and
sticks out, it is called an open or compound fracture. Most fractures in
children occur in the wrist, the forearm, and above the elbow. Symptoms
Out-of-place or misshapen limb or joint
Swelling, bruising or bleeding
Numbness and tingling
Limited mobility or inability to move a limb
You need to get medical care right away for any fracture.
Deep Cuts and Scrapes
Deep, smooth or jagged breaks or openings in the skin caused by sharp
objects such as a knife, shard of glass or razor blade, bleed a lot and
quickly and when deep, may damage tendons, ligaments and muscles.
If your child has been in a body crushing accident, call 911.
Wounds that have an entry hole made by a pointed object such as a nail,
knife, or sharp tooth from an animal or human bit require different
treatment from cuts because these holes can disguise serious injury, and
can result in a skin infection or other complications such as a bone or
joint infection. They should be treated within the first 24 hours
because they carry the danger of embedding the piercing object under the
skin, along with dirt and debris.
Accidental or experimental ingestion of medications, alcohol, cleaning
products, cosmetics, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, solvents and even
plants or exposure to carbon monoxide from auto exhaust, indoor charcoal
grills, faulty fireplaces and chimneys, faulty gas water heaters, gas
appliances and heaters should be treated immediately at the emergency
Head Trauma and Concussion
Concussions are a mild injury to the brain that temporarily disrupts how
the brain normally works. They are often caused by falls and accidents,
with a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Signs and symptoms of a
Forgetting about what just happened before or after the injury
Being “knocked out” or losing consciousness
Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself and call
911 for immediate medical attention, especially if a headache gets
worse, your child is confused, has trouble walking or talking, there is
numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, shows uncontrollable shaking
or any other sudden change in thinking or behavior.
Bleeding that occurs inside the skull accounts for approximately 10
percent of strokes, including pediatric strokes. Intracranial
hemorrhages are caused by:
Head trauma from a fall, car accident, sports accident
Hypertension damage to blood vessels that cause a leak or break
Blockage of an artery in the brain by a blood clot
Blood vessel wall—aneurysm—ruptured
Buildup of protein within the artery walls of the brain
Leaking of malformed arteries or veins
Treatment with blood thinners
Tumors that are bleeding
Bleeding that is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that has leaked
or ruptured is called a hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke generally
happens suddenly and can cause brain damage and be life-threatening.
When the blood pools in or around the brain, it is deprived of oxygen.
When deprived of oxygen for more than three or four minutes, the brain
cells die as well as damage the nerve cells and related functions they
control. This prevents nerve cells from communicating with the parts of
the body and the functions they control, resulting in a loss of movement
in the affected area, difficulty swallowing, vision loss, inability to
speak or understand words, confusion and memory loss, personality
The immediate symptoms include:
Sudden tingling, weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face,
arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body
Sudden, severe headache
Difficulty with swallowing or vision
Loss of balance or coordination
Difficulty understanding, reading or writing
Difficulty speaking—slurring nonsensical speech
Change in level of consciousness or alertness, marked by stupor,
lethargy, sleepiness, or coma
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.