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[Editorial] How best to assess children presenting to emergency care

Every paediatrician remembers a time when a young child presented with non-specific symptoms to an accident and emergency department—for example with unusual quietness, fever, and pallor—and it is completely unclear at that moment what will happen next. From becoming critically ill in a very short time to happily playing or eating and drinking, every outcome is possible. Paediatricians often have to act on instinct whether to admit a child to hospital overnight for close observation or not. In countries where there is good availability of hospital beds, children are more likely to be admitted as a precaution and in some cases, unnecessarily so.

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