Emergency Department

COVID-19 Information

If your child is in need of emergency services, please do not hesitate to visit our Emergency Department (ED).

Due to limited space in our waiting rooms and to ensure social distancing, we ask that you limit yourself to one accompanying person per child registered to see a physician. Please avoid bringing siblings.

Upon arrival to the Emergency Department (ED), please wash your hands and use the surgical masks available at the ED entrance (everyone over 2 years old should wear a mask). Please make sure to wear your mask at all times (covering both your nose and mouth), wash your hands regularly and follow the physical distancing guides.

For more information about COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page.

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About us

The Emergency Department (ED) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) is a tertiary care, state-of-the-art facility and a designated provincial pediatric level 1 trauma centre. We are dedicated to providing best care for acutely and critically ill and injured infants, children and adolescents and their families and to promoting excellence in pediatric emergency medicine through research, education and innovation.

The Emergency Department is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and provides care to more than 75,000 patients every year. We are ready to serve children and families from Montreal, its surrounding areas, and other regions of Quebec.

The ED team is comprised of approximately 200 people, made up of nurses, physicians, patient care attendants, administrative staff, allied healthcare professionals, and radiology and respiratory technologists.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital is affiliated with McGill University and is an academic hospital involved in teaching and research. We provide training for various people who want to be nurses, doctors or other healthcare workers and who work alongside our ED staff to best care for your child.

Our department is also actively involved in research to improve care in pediatric emergency medicine. You may be approached to participate in a research study while you are in our department or in the days following your visit however your child’s care by the ED team will not be affected by whether you agree to participate in the research study or not.

Our services

We provide specialized emergency care for children with illnesses and injuries which need urgent attention. We are open 24 hours, every day of the year.

When should you come to the ED?

We recommend that you bring your child to the Emergency Department if they have:

  • Fever of 38C (100.4F) or more and one or more of the following:
    • Is less than 3 months old and has a fever
    • Has immune system problems or complex chronic health problems
    • Is very sleepy or difficult to wake up
    • Has a stiff neck
    • Is refusing to drink even when given medication to reduce the fever (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)

Note: Fever in a child who is otherwise healthy and vaccinated and appears well when the fever is lower is not an emergency. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given to make your child feel more comfortable. Most fevers in children are caused by viral infections and can last 3-5 days. If your child remains well-looking but the fever lasts more than 3 days, your child can be seen by a healthcare provider in the community.

  • Difficulty breathing - Signs include breathing irregularly or more quickly than usual, working hard to breathe, pale skin or whiteish or blue lips.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea with:
    • signs of dehydration (no tears, very dry mouth, more sleepy than usual, no urine for more than 8 hours)
    • vomiting or diarrhea containing blood
  • Injuries such as:
    • Head injury with severe headache, loss of consciousness (passing out), confusion, sleepiness or vomiting
    • Suspected broken or dislocated bone
    • Cut that may need stitches
    • Eye injuries
    • Injuries that are causing chest or abdominal pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rash that looks like tiny or expanding bruises

*This is not a full list of all the reasons to come to the Emergency Department. Please bring your child to the Emergency Department if you believe that your child needs to be seen urgently.

What to expect when you come to the ED


Our staff treat patients on a priority basis according to the severity of each case. The Emergency Department does not function on a first come, first serve basis. Rather, the sickest patients are seen first. This system is known as “triage” and is based on specific criteria (the Canadian Paediatric Triage and Acuity Scale). The job of the triage nurse is to assess the child’s condition based on obtaining information from the patient and/or caregivers and on the assessment of the child/youth’s appearance, breathing, circulation and mental health status. Since the priority of patients may change and waiting times will vary, the ED staff is not able to provide the wait time.

Here are some ways you can help the triage nurse:

  • Tell the nurse why you have come to the Emergency department.
  • Tell the nurse what medications your child takes, what allergies your child has and any information about your child’s previous and current medical conditions.
  • During the winter, remove your child’s coat so that the nurse can properly evaluate your child


Once you have been evaluated by the nurse, you will be asked to register. You will be asked questions such as your address, name of your primary care physician and your telephone number. Please ensure that this information is accurate since the ED staff may need to contact you. You will also be asked for your health insurance card or other health insurance information.

Waiting Room

If an exam room is not available, you will be asked to wait in the waiting room. The triage nurse may provide you with specific instructions which are important to follow. The waiting time will vary depending on multiple factors including the significance of your child’s illness or injury, the number of patients in the department and the degree of severity of the illnesses and injuries of other patients in the department.

Please be aware that even though the department might appear quiet, there could be very sick children being cared for by many of the Emergency Department staff.

While waiting, if you feel that your child’s condition has worsened, please let a member of our ED team know immediately.

Exam room and tests

Your child will be evaluated in an exam room as soon as possible. You may be waiting in the exam room for an extended period of time until the physician is able to see you. If your child needs tests or needs an evaluation by another specialist, you may be asked to return to the waiting room to wait for the tests to be done or for the specialist to arrive. After the tests, you may be asked to return to the waiting room while waiting for the test results.

What you should bring when you come to the ED

Please make sure to bring items that you will need for a long wait since the Emergency Department is often busy. As always, the sickest children are seen first.

Please remember to bring:

  • Your health card or other health insurance information
  • Your child’s medication
  • Your medication (in case you are in the Emergency Department longer than expected)
  • Specialized equipment that is used by your child
  • Specialized formula used by your child
  • Any tubes or devices needed to care for your child
  • Diapers, if applicable
  • Items to occupy your child’s time such as books and toys
  • Snacks for you and your child – however, before your child eats or drinks anything, please ask the ED staff if you child is permitted to eat or drink in case they require an empty stomach for a test or a procedure.
  • Chargers for your electronic devices


Helpful resources for families


Quebec Poison Control Centre: 1-800-463-5060

Info-santé: 811

Before going to the Emergency Department

MCH Trauma Program


Information pamphlets:

  • Pamphlets related to trauma, click here, and then click on the “parent resources” tab
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Cannabis Information for Parents
  • Cannabis Information for Teenagers
  • Chickenpox
  • Eczema-Atopic Dermatitis
  • Febrile Seizure
  • Fever in infants
  • Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP)
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Medical Records Access



Our department is actively involved in research to improve care in pediatric emergency medicine. You may be approached to participate in a research study while you are in our department or in the days following your visit. However, your child’s care by the ED team will not be affected by whether you agree to participate in the research study or not.

Our current studies are focused on mental health, concussions, fever in infants, COVID-19 and physiotherapists in the ED.

Refer a patient 

Room number : B S1.3300, Glen site
Fax : 514-412-4217

Address: 1001 Decarie, Pavillion B, S1 level

Getting to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, click here