We’ve all been there. It’s a Friday evening and your child suddenly spikes a fever that isn’t coming down with Tylenol. It’s not an incredibly high fever, but your child is miserable. Maybe you even know the root of the problem; maybe they have an ear infection or sinus infection and just need a round of antibiotics to get them back on track.
On a Friday night, your options are limited. You won’t be able to get them in to your primary care physician until Monday; you can’t let your baby live in misery that long. You could take them to the emergency room, but that’s a giant bummer. Your already miserable child will have to sit in the uncomfortable waiting room of the emergency room for hours upon hours. The other patients waiting to be seen in the waiting room likely have contagious illnesses that you really don’t want your already ill child exposed to. And then, when you get treatment, you walk away with a four-figure bill; the hospital surcharges for even basic treatment is exorbitant. A single dose of Tylonol often costs in the neighborhood of $15 at the hospital. Not to mention, visiting the emergency room for non-emergencies ties up hospital resources that are meant for saving lives.
So what do you do? This is a good time to bring up urgent care for kids. When you take your child to an urgent care for kids, they’re equipped to handle all of the common illnesses that kids are prone to, as well as most injuries that a child might sustain. The medical treatments that are best for a child are much different than that of a child, this is an important benefit of taking your child to an urgent care for kids. Urgent care for kids are specifically staffed with professionals in pediatric medicine, they are specifically trained to treat and heal children.
If we have your attention now, consider our list of DOs and DON’Ts for taking your kid to a pediatric urgent care:
Urgent Care for Kids: Dos and Don’ts
- DO: Take your child to a pediatric urgent care for non-life threatening issues that your pediatrician is not able to treat.
Your pediatrician is the best place to take your child for ongoing treatment, such as adjustments to medication and such. However, your pediatrician’s office isn’t equipped to handle sprained ankles or bone fractures. They would send you to the ER if you came to them with this. They cannot administer IV fluids. They often do not have lab services on-site. These are all services that your pediatric urgent care can likely provide.
- DON’T: Take your child to urgent care for an emergency situation.
The emergency room is designed for one purpose: to treat emergencies. When your child has suffered a head or neck injury. When they are bleeding profusely or sustained a serious burn. When they have a broken bone that is protruding from the skin. When they are struggling to breath for any reason. These are emergencies, and getting them the best care immediately is critical. Always skip urgent care and head straight to emergency room in these situations.
- DO: Make sure you go to an urgent care specifically for children.
Your child will get the best care if they are treated by a doctor or nurse practitioner who specializes in pediatric medicine. Don’t wait until you’re desperate to find the nearest pediatric urgent care. Equip yourself by looking this up now, so you no where to go if it’s needed.
- DON’T: Assume that all urgent care facilities are the same.
You wouldn’t visit a podiatrist when you need treatment for your eyesight. Pediatric medical care is a special branch of medicine, a pediatric doctor best understands specifically how children should respond to certain medications, and how to best treat childhood illnesses. If you can’t get into your own pediatrician, you should make sure you take them to an urgent care clinic specifically for children.
Your pediatrician plays an important part in your child’s care. Your local emergency room is there for you if you have an emergency. When you can’t get to your pediatrician and your child’s medical need isn’t an emergency, taking them to an urgent care for kids is the best option.