We are currently experiencing a significant increase in demand for pediatric care due to the surge of respiratory infections in children in our community, region and province.

Our teams are working quickly to ensure we have the physicians, staff and space needed to accommodate this growing pediatric need. 

Meanwhile, we are here for you. If your child needs emergency or urgent care, please go to our Emergency Department, COPC Urgent Care, or UCC. Note that the sickest people are seen first. Please come prepared for a longer-than-usual wait at this time. Please bring snacks, drinks and something to help pass the time for your child to make the wait as comfortable as possible.

Video: Q&A with Dr. Amy Acker 

Dr. Amy Acker, medical director of the Children's Outpatient Centre at KHSC, answers the top 5 questions parents ask during respiratory illness season.

Remote video URL
When does my child need emergency care for a respiratory illness?
  • You know your child best.  If your child has the following symptoms, then you should go to the Emergency Department, COPC Urgent Care, or Urgent Care Centre. 
    • fever in infants less than 3 months
    • fever lasting more than 5 days in children older than 3 months  
    • signs of respiratory distress (working hard to breathe, breathing faster than normal)
    • signs of dehydration with dry mouth or no urine for more than 8 hours.
  • Some respiratory illness symptoms are not an emergency and could continue to be cared for at home.  These include:
    • fever, when it stays down in healthy and vaccinated babies and children when treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen (children appear generally well and playful)
    • nasal congestion and cough (even if it interrupts sleep)
    • vomiting or diarrhea less than 3-4 times a day.
  • Remember that there are many different health services available in our community to help you before you turn to emergency or urgent care in the hospital.  Choosing the best option may be faster and save you a hospital visit.
  • Click here for recommendations on going to the right place for the right care.
What else can I do as a parent to help protect my child?
  • Consider masking in public spaces, isolate children if they are not feeling well, make sure they are vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza, practice good hand hygiene at all times and practice physical distancing whenever possible.
  • To learn more about how to care for children with respiratory illnesses such as RSV, influenza and COVID-19, click here. Note that children who have symptoms, including fever, that lasts beyond five days should be seen by a doctor.