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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Q – What do I do when my child is sick?

A – The following are suggestions which may help you decide how to manage your child/youth’s illness:

First decision: Do I consider this health concern severe, moderate or mild?

Severe: If this is an emergency (i.e. severe difficulty breathing) call 911.
Moderate: If child is looking unwell and I am concerned. My options are: to phone my family doctor or pediatrician, phone Telehealth or CLSC (Quebec). Is this requiring a visit to the Emergency Department or a Community Clinic? Do I need to call an ambulance or will I drive to the hospital?
Mild: Is this something I can manage at home on my own? (i.e. simple cold with no change in condition) Phone my family doctor or pediatrician, phone Telehealth (Ontario) or CLSC (Quebec) for advice. For more information visit Emergency Services: When to Go.

Q – I want to bring in my child but I don’t have their health card in my possession.

A – We will look after your child and the health card issue will be resolved once your child has been cared for.

Q – We live in Quebec, can my child still be seen at CHEO emergency?

A – In the event of an emergency, any infant/child/youth can be seen, regardless of where they are from.

Q – What is a normal temperature and when should I worry about a fever?

A – Visit Health Tips: What to do when your child has a fever.

Q – How long is the wait in the ED?

A – Nursing staff can provide rough estimates about waiting times, but please keep in mind that in the ED, the “first come, first served” rule does not necessarily apply. Urgent Cases, involving critically ill or injured children / youth (e.g. motor vehicle traumas, severe asthmatics, to name a few) take priority. Please be patient and you will be seen as soon as possible. Please notify an ED nurse if you feel your child/youth’s condition has deteriorated while you have been waiting.

Q – Can I give Tylenol and Advil together?

A – View What to do when your child has a fever.

Q – Can I give my child his /her puffer more than every 4 hours?

A – Visit the Childhood Asthma website

Q – My son is being treated for an ear infection, and I think my other child has one as well, can I give him / her the antibiotic my son is taking?

A – No, never give or share a prescription medication which is not specifically prescribed to your infant/child/youth. See your physician.

Q – How do I know when to come to the Emergency Department?

A – Visit When to Go.

Q – My child, who has diabetes, now has a fever and is vomiting. Who can I call?

A – For CHEO diabetes patients there is a 24 hour Hotline number:

613-737-7600, press 0 immediately to reach the Operator

The Diabetes Physician on call is available for urgent medical advice (for example illness, insulin errors, severe hypoglycemia). Note: this is not for routine insulin adjustments.

If your child is not a CHEO diabetes patient, you can call your child’s physician or
Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000).

Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential telephone service you can call to get health advice or general health information from a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit the Telehealth Ontario website.

Q – I have a newborn baby and want to know where I can get information about the “normal” things I should expect.

A – Following birth there are normal changes that your baby goes through, which may cause you concern. There are community resources which can help you in understanding your newborn’s growth and development and which you can go to for information. You should address any immediate health concerns with your family doctor or pediatrician, who would be happy to answer any of your questions as well.

In Ontario, each city has a Health Department with a Public Health Nurse visiting program. In the city of Ottawa it’s known as the Healthy Baby Healthy Children’s program and is located at 100 Constellation Cr. You may contact Ottawa Health Information at 613-580-6744; Toll free: 1-866-426-8885 or TTY: 613-580-9656 (text telephone for the hearing impaired) for more information. You may also contact Ottawa People Services at 613-580-6744 for more information. The La Leche League of Canada is a mother-to-mother network with over 40 years’ history of practical breastfeeding and mothering wisdom. They can be reached at 613-238-5919. These programs provide resources, education and support for parents with respect to general baby care, safety and/or breastfeeding issues.

Q – My eight-year-old son is out of control. He is frequently verbally and physically aggressive both at home and at school. He will not follow rules we put in place and consequencing him has always been virtually impossible. Where can I get help?

A – Chronic behavior problems often require intensive intervention. In order to get the proper help, you may want to discuss your concerns with your family physician who will advise you regarding appropriate services for your child.

Q – Where can I access emergency dental services for my child?

A – Emergency dental treatment may be rendered to a patient through CHEO’s dental clinic, during regular working hours of 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours emergencies need to be assessed in the ED by an emergency physician who will determine whether a dentist needs to be called. There is also a 24 hour dental emergency number which you can call at 613-523-4185. In general, dental services are not covered by OHIP.

General information about children’s dental health can be found on the City of Ottawa web page.

Q – Where can I get health advice regarding pediatric illnesses?

A – Visit the Telehealth Ontario website or call them at 1-866-797-0000. This is a 24 hour service provided to residents of Ontario. A registered nurse can answer your questions and direct you to appropriate resources. The Health Department also known as the City of Ottawa People Services has a Parent-Child Info Line which can be reached at 613-580-6744 extension 28020 and is operated to service the public from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is a telephone health counseling service where you can obtain information about any health-related issue regarding adults and children from a Registered Nurse. You can call and get advice on such topics as:
  • General health: adult/children
  • Speech and language concerns with your preschooler
  • Nutrition and healthy lifestyles
  • Smoking cessation
  • Injury prevention (such as car seat safety)
  • Prenatal classes
For Quebec residents there is the CLSC which can be reached at 8-1-1. Listen to the complete message for after hours services.

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