For many parents, seeing their child suffering from whatever condition is a difficult and stressful ordeal. You need to act fast and decide which is the place to go to get medical attention. You have three choices: the pediatrician, a children’s urgent care center, or a hospital’s emergency room. If you’re not sure where to go, here’s a quick guide to help you decide which is the best place to get the care your child needs.
When to Take Your Child to a Pediatrician
A pediatrician essentially acts as your child’s first line of defense. For most instances, when your child becomes sick, you want to turn to your pediatrician first, especially if it’s not a medical emergency. Bring your child to their pediatrician’s office for conditions such as:
- Colds and coughs
- Rashes and mild skin infections
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Minor burns or wounds
- Severe sore throat
- Painful urination
These conditions are considered minor medical issues that are more suited for a pediatrician. If your child doesn’t need care right away and you can wait for an appointment, then going to your pediatrician would be the best option.
When to Take Your Child to Urgent Care
A pediatrician is the ideal medical care provider for your child since they know all about your child’s medical history. However, there may come a time when your child will run a fever at night, or they’ll get an ear infection when your pediatrician is out. If you’re in a similar situation, going to an urgent care center is a good option.
Urgent care centers handle medical issues that may not require a visit to the ER, but it’s still critical enough that it needs to be attended to quickly. Some good examples of conditions that are better addressed in urgent care include:
- Rash accompanied with a fever
- Blood in their urine or stool
- Severe sore throat
- Sharp or persistent pains in the stomach or abdomen
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts for more than a few hours
- Severe ear pain accompanied by fever, vomiting, or discharge from the ear
Whenever you go to a children’s urgent care center, you can ask their office to send the records of your child’s visit to the pediatrician’s office for record-keeping. Another option is to just get copies of the records and share them with the pediatrician as soon as possible.
When to Take Your Child to the Emergency Room
The ER department of any hospital is fully equipped to help your child if they have a severe illness or injury that needs immediate, advanced care. This is especially true if it’s a life-threatening emergency. Bring your child to ER for conditions such as:
- Purple or blue skin, lips, or fingernails
- Severe spinal cord or head injuries
- Eye injuries
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe pain
- Neck stiffness with fever
- Uncontrolled bleeding or vomiting
- Unconsciousness or lack of response
When in Doubt, Get Help
No matter how small you might think the medical issue is, it’s always best to seek help from a medical professional. As a parent, you need to err to the side of caution to make sure your child gets the right kind of attention as soon as possible.
Whenever your child needs immediate medical attention, Your Kid’s Urgent Care is here to help. We act as an intermediary between your child’s primary care doctor and the emergency room. Our team is always available to provide urgent care in New Providence as well as other locations. Give us a call to set an appointment today.