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Arch Hellen Med, 32(2), March-April 2015, 210-215


What makes parents afraid during the night?

M. Binou, O. Giata, E. Theocharis, I. Soultanidis, C. Kartsiounis, A. Aggelis, K. Aktseli
General Hospital of Katerini, Katerini, Greece

OBJECTIVE When a child gets sick, it is logical that parents become stressed and consult a pediatrician. It is possible that the fear and stress of the parents gets worst during the night-time. This study recorded the visits of children to the pediatric emergency department and investigated the activity during the hours of the night.

METHOD A retrospective study was conducted of the utilization of a hospital pediatric emergency department during the period September 2010–September 2011.

RESULTS During the 12-month period, 11,213 children (53.2% boys, 46.8% girls) attended the pediatric emergency department, of which 10,277 (91.7%) were brought between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight, and the rest between 0:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (i.e. during the night). The most frequent reason, overall, for pediatric consultation was fever (1 in 3 children), followed by cough (22.2%) and abdominal symptoms (vomiting 10.1%, abdominal pain 8.5%). During the night, 18.1% presented with vomiting, 12.2% with abdominal pain, 7% with respiratory distress, 8% with earache and 1.5% with convulsions, all percentages being statistically significantly higher than during the day. The most frequent diagnosis during the night was gastroenteritis (18.7%), followed by otitis media (12.5%) and laryngitis (11.5%), percentages statistically significantly higher than during the day (p<0.001). During the night, 159 children were hospitalized (7%) and during the day 8.8% (p<0.001). Vomiting was the most frequent reason for hospitalization during the night (34%), followed by fever (32.1%), diarrhea (12.6%) and cough (11.9%).

CONCLUSIONS Fever is the symptom that most often worries parents. During the night-time hours, however, they seek pediatric help for vomiting and respiratory symptoms more frequently than during the day.

Key words: Concern, Emergency department, Night-time attendance, Symptoms.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine