Parents have a difficult job of protecting the health and safety of their child. Sometimes, even with the best prevention, accidents and illness still occur. Parents that have a sick or injured child are in for a scary experience. That fear leaves parents unsure of how to treat the child and in many cases, leads to an overreaction.

Do they need a trip to the emergency room or just the urgent care? Will they be okay? We want to help make that decision a little easier for you by discussing precisely what an urgent care center is prepared to handle with your child.

Symptoms of Illness

Children are prone to illness. From ear infections to strep throat and so much more – it’s inevitable. If your child is suffering from signs of an illness that may require medication to resolve, the urgent care should be able to help. If the symptoms in your child are severe – such as a fever in a newborn – it’s best to take them to the emergency room. Ear infection, urinary tract infection, pink eye, and the flu are some of the most common pediatric illnesses treated at an urgent care center.

Minor Injury

As kids run around and play, injury is inevitable. The urgent care center can treat minor pediatric injuries including:

  • Cuts requiring stitches
  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor fractures of fingers and toes

More severe broken bones will require a trip to the emergency room for proper treatment. Cuts on the face that need stitches should also be taken to an emergency room because the child will likely require sedation to repair the wound.

Making a Judgement Call

Ultimately, deciding if your child needs an emergency room or urgent care visit is up to you. An urgent care should be used as a source for immediate treatment of an injury or illness that isn’t life threatening to your child. If you’re unsure of the best course of action, contact the urgent care to ask if they’re comfortable treating a pediatric patient with the symptoms at hand.

Each urgent care is different in regard to the tools, staff, and materials they have on-site. Facilities that are familiar with pediatric patients will be more likely to treat a variety of conditions than an urgent care center that typically only treats adults. When your child needs treatment, you should step back, evaluate the situation at hand, and go with your gut instinct.