7. Some bozo sideswipes your car. Your child is strapped into his safety seat, but is upset and crying. Head to the ER?
Only if he doesn't calm down after a reasonable amount of time, say 15 or 20 minutes. "With children age five and under who are properly restrained in an age-appropriate car seat, the likelihood of injury is low," says Dr. Frush. But if your child won't stop crying, bring him in. "That may mean he was subjected to some force, and a doctor can figure out if there are any injuries," she adds.
Generally, though, if your child is also moving his arms and legs, the best thing to do is remove him from his car seat, try to calm him down, and make sure he's okay, says Dr. Zibners. If he seems to be, over the next few hours watch for blood in his urine or bruising over his chest or belly from the straps; these symptoms warrant a follow-up call to the doctor, as does a kid who is refusing to move or turn his head (though some stiffness is normal), she says.
8. Your child gets hit in the eye with a projectile dump truck. Head to the ER?
Yes, if the eyeball is injured in any way. Look for bleeding, marked redness, impaired vision, or an inability to move or open his eye. If the area around the eye (the brow bone or the lid) looks like it might need stitches, apply direct pressure to stop any bleeding and then call your pediatrician, who will likely advise you to go to the ER. (If it's determined that your child does need stitches, you may want to ask if a plastic surgeon is available.)
Otherwise, no trip to the ER is necessary, even if your child looks like a linebacker after the Super Bowl or is bleeding profusely. "The way the eye is made, the bones around it take the force of most of the impact," says Dr. Frush. "The skin around the eye is very loose and can hold a lot more blood and fluid than other areas where the skin is tighter, so a small injury can look much worse than it is," adds Dr. Zibners. Ice the area, if your child will let you, and don't be surprised if the eye is swollen shut the next day. You can continue to offer him cold packs and an appropriate dose of a pain reliever if it's still sore.