When to Call an Ambulance

These pages are only a guideline for emergency care. Please follow directions given by your healthcare provider or the 911 operator. Be prepared before an emergency occurs by doing the following.

  • Take the time to learn what to do in the case of an emergency
  • Attend a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course (CPR course)
  • Attend a first-aid course
  • For information about CPR and first-aid courses, contact your local healthcare provider

When to Call an Ambulance for a Child

Call an ambulance for a child if they experience the following:

  • Not breathing and is lifeless: Begin CPR for one minute before calling 911 or your emergency number
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconscious child
  • Change in mental status
    • Unusual behavior
    • Difficulty waking up
  • Seizures longer than five minutes
  • Sudden severe pain
  • Major injuries
  • Suspected spinal or neck injury
  • Severe burns
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Poisonings: Call when advised by the Poison Control Center or a local healthcare provider.

What to Know When Calling for Help

Remember to call 911 only in a real emergency. The use of this number for a nonemergency may cause a delay in help for someone whose life may be in danger.

When you call, speak clearly, slowly and calmly.

Information that you need to provide:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Location of ill/injured child
  • Number of ill/injured child/children
  • Problem

Be sure the dispatcher has the correct address. Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to; they may need additional information or be able to give you instructions.

What to Do Until Help Arrives

  • Do not leave an ill/injured child alone once the call has been made.
  • Do not move an injured child unless they are in danger.
  • Do not remove any embedded objects from a wound.
  • Do not give the child anything to eat or drink.
  • Keep the child as warm and comfortable as possible.
  • If not breathing or stops breathing, administer CPR.
  • If bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean cloth.
  • If burned, cover with clean cloth. Do not put ice, butter, cream or ointment on the burn. Do not break blisters.
  • If seizing, clear the area and allow the seizure to occur. Do not put anything in the child's mouth.
  • Remain calm and help the child remain calm.

If another person is available, have them meet the ambulance and show the way to the child.