However, Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., doesn't think the situation necessarily applies to the United States.
"I would take the results of this study with a grain of salt," she said. Perhaps parents in the Netherlands are better educated about the signs of serious illness in their children in the United States, she noted.
"Here a lot of parents bring in their children for a simple cold with fever that could very easily be handled over the phone by a medical professional," Samuels said.
If parents would call their doctor before deciding to take their child to the hospital "we could save parents a lot of trouble and time going to the emergency room for unnecessary visits," she added.
However, doctors should not discount parent's assessment of their child, Samuels stressed.
Some parents might overreact to a simple illness with fever, she said. "But parents have a sixth sense when it comes to their own children, and physicians need to take that seriously," she added.
Fever is the way the body fights off a viral illness, and most of the time the child does not need to go to an emergency room, Samuels said. "No intervention is needed unless there are other telltale signs that this could be a bacterial infection. We look for other more worrisome signs that accompany the fever."
Signs that an illness might be serious include whether the child with a fever is not as active as usual or not eating or drinking. "That's concerning to us," Samuels said.
"If there is any trouble breathing, if there is any dehydration, those would be immediate red flags for me," she said. "Duration of fever is another important factor. If a child has had fever over three to five days that child should be seen."
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