What should I do If my child is unwell?

5th June 2012

In my capacity as one of the Medical Directors of HealthFirst, this week I was asked to write something for the Moms-in-Vaud yahoo group blog about how to access emergency medical care for children in the Vaud/Geneva area. I thought that I would also share this here.

In a medical emergency……

The most important thing to say is that if your child is critically unwell or seriously injured – e.g. has severe breathing difficulties, is unconscious, has broken their leg, has had a febrile seizure etc. – then you need to call an ambulance immediately.

The number to call in Switzerland is 144. If you are over the border in neighbouring France, the number is 15. This will get you through to the ambulance service directly. If you struggle with your French, ask and the operator may be able to pass you to someone who speaks English, although this isn’t 100% guaranteed.

Another important emergency number to know is 112. This is the Europe-wide Emergency Services number. You can dial it from a mobile phone or a land-line in European countries including Switzerland, France, UK, Germany and Italy. You will be passed to the emergency service that you need. However, if you are in Switzerland and you know that it is an ambulance that you need, then dial 144 as this will give you direct access.

During a weekday……

If your child’s health problem is less critical, during weekdays, I would suggest that you try your child’s usual Paediatrician as a first port of call. Many local paediatricians will see children on the same day for an urgent appointment.

Out-of-hours (evenings, night time, weekends, bank holidays)…….

In the canton of Vaud there is a number to call to speak to the doctor on call for the area. The number is 0848 133 133. The doctor will be able to talk through your child’s problem with you and give you medical advice. They may suggest that they see your child themselves or they may suggest that you take your child to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department equipped for dealing with children – they will be able to advise which hospital to go to.

In Geneva, you can call one of the Emergency Doctor Services for medical advice and/or a home visit. We suggest Genève Médecins who operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their number is 022 754 5454.

Alternatively, you could also take your child directly to one of the Geneva Hospitals that have paediatricians on-site. Some hospitals operate an emergency appointment system:

Hopital des Enfants, Ave. de la Roseraie 47, Geneva

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

No appointment needed; 022 372 4555

Clinique Generale Beaulieu, Chemin Beau-Soleil 20, Geneva

Call 022 839 5415 for an emergency appointment with a paediatrician

Monday-Friday 18:00-22:00; Saturday/Sunday/Bank holidays 08:00-22:00

Clinique des Grangettes, Chemin des Grangettes 7, Chêne-Bougeries, Geneva

Call 022 305 0555

7 days a week, 10:00-22:00

Hopital de la Tour, Avenue J-D Maillard 3, Meyrin, Geneva

Call 022 719 6100 for an emergency appointment with a paediatrician between 08:00-22:00

Finally, make sure that everyone who cares for your children knows how to react if your child is unwell and how to access the appropriate medical care.


More Articles


Blog, Physical Health


Glaucoma is the number one cause of irreversible blindness globally. Dr Michelle Wright explains that it can affect any one of any age, including babies.

4th March 2024

The Adolescence Rollercoaster

Blog, Mental Health, Youth

The Adolescence Rollercoaster

There are so many things that our young people have on their mind these days; reasons why they might struggle with their mental health. But perhaps one of biggest stressors adolescents face is adolescence itself! Can you remember the rollercoaster of yours?

15th February 2024

Meet the team – Dr Michelle Wright

Blog, Meet the team

Meet the team – Dr Michelle Wright

Meet the team, our quarterly introduction to the team members at HealthFirst. Introducing Dr Michelle Wright, director and founder.

22nd January 2024

Stay in Touch

Keep up to date with all our latest training and courses