Coming to emergency

  • If your child needs urgent medical care, please go immediately to your nearest Emergency Department. If you can’t safely transport your child to the hospital, call Triple Zero (000).
    For less urgent injuries or illnesses of if you’re unsure, see your child’s GP, visit the healthdirect online symptom checker or call
    13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.
QCH Emergency Department

The Queensland Children’s Hospital Emergency Department provides care and treatment for more than 200 children and young people every day.

We provide 24-hour emergency care for infants, children and young children from birth through to 15 years of age, and support young people up to 18 years with pre-existing chronic conditions and mental health conditions who need urgent medical attention.

When should I bring my child to Emergency?

If your child suddenly becomes unwell or has been seriously injured, and you think the condition might be life-threatening or causing them severe discomfort, the Emergency Department is the place to be. Our staff are ready to care for your child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Signs that your child needs emergency care may include:

  • They become unwell quickly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale or blue around the lips
  • Drowsy or not responding to your voice
  • A fit or a convulsion
  • A serious accident or injury such as a burn, deep cut or broken bone.

Symptoms in young babies may include:

  • The soft spot on the top of their head is full or bulging
  • High pitched crying or screaming
  • Difficulty rousing or not waking for feeds

In the case of an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

If you think it’s safe to do so, you can drive your child to emergency. There is a stopping bay right outside the Emergency Department on Stanley Street. Note: This stopping bay can only be occupied for a maximum of 20 minutes. For more information about carparks in and around the hospital, see our Travelling to hospital page.

If it’s not an emergency, where should I go?

The Emergency Department can be very busy at times and must always prioritise care for the sickest and most injured patients.  If your child does not need emergency care, you can avoid longer wait times by seeking medical advice from an alternative health practitioner.

Some options include:

  • calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice from qualified health professionals. They can advise if you need to call an ambulance for immediate help.
  • making an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP), or other relevant health professional, such as a dentist or physiotherapist.
  • visiting your pharmacy for help with symptoms of colds or flu, skin irritations, minor allergy symptoms, headaches, diarrhoea or constipation.

You can also try the healthdirect online symptom checker for advice on the right healthcare option.

What to expect when you arrive at Emergency

When you arrive in Emergency a triage nurse will be the first person to see your child. They will ask questions about your child’s symptoms or injury to determine how quickly they need to be seen by a doctor.

In the interests of safety, it’s vital that the sickest and most seriously injured patients are always seen first. We do not see patients on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.

The triage process ensures emergency patients are prioritised (or ‘triaged’) according to the severity and urgency of their condition.  Watch this video to see how triage works.

What to expect

If we’re busy in the Emergency Department, wait times will be longer than usual. We know waiting with an unwell or injured child can be difficult and frustrating.  Our team works hard to help everyone as quickly as possible and appreciates your patience and understanding.

The most seriously ill and injured patients will always be seen immediately, no matter how busy our Emergency department is.

We strongly urge you not to leave before a doctor sees your child.  The triage process is not a full medical assessment, just a means of prioritising patients to ensure the sickest children are seen first. Please talk to us before deciding to leave.

If you are concerned your child is getting worse or is experiencing more pain while waiting, please speak to the Triage Nurse immediately.

Important

  • If your child is in pain, we want to know so we can help make them feel better while they wait. Don’t hesitate to ask our staff.
  • Tell us if your child has had any medication (including paracetamol or ibuprofen) in the past 24 hours.
  • Tell us if your child has any known allergies.
  • Please check with the doctors or nurses before:
    • giving your child anything to eat or drink while waiting. Some treatments may be delayed if they have not fasted.
    • giving any medications to your child.

Travelling to the Queensland Children’s Hospital Emergency Department

If it is safe to do so, you can drive your child to Emergency yourself. There is a stopping bay located at the front of the hospital on Stanley Street just outside the Emergency Department on Level 1. This stopping bay can only be occupied for a maximum of 20 minutes before you will be required to move your vehicle. Information about the closest carparks to the hospital can be found on the Travelling to hospital page.

Where is my closest Emergency Department?

Your closest Emergency Department is the best place to take your child if they need urgent medical attention.

Families living in South Brisbane and the surrounding area, should go to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Families living outside the Queensland Children’s Hospital catchment area should go to the Emergency Department department at their local hospital in the first instance. Find your local hospital in South East Queensland using our Hospital catchment finder.

Contact us

For general enquiries you can contact our Emergency Department via the hospital switchboard.
t: 07 3068 1111

In an emergency call 000

For all other non-urgent health related enquiries contact
13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Find out more

For more information about our Emergency Department, including eligibility criteria, catchment area restrictions, location details and referral advice view our emergency department page.