Summer is a time for adventure, exercise, and outdoor play. While this is great for children's health, it also means that there is an increased risk of accident or injury while engaging in physical activity.
Most parents are well equipped to deal with their child's minor scrapes, bumps, or bruises that occur throughout the season, but more serious incidents may require professional medical attention. However, not every accident is cause for a trip to the emergency room, either. Urgent care for kids is a dependable, in-between option for cases that require same-day or immediate medical help, but may not be life-threatening.
The important thing is to know the difference. Here are our Dos and Don'ts for deciding between emergency and urgent care for kids.
- Do: Take your child to urgent care for sports injuries.
Non-life-threatening injuries from physical activity are common in children and can typically be treated much more quickly and cost-effectively at an urgent care clinic than in a hospital. There are an estimated 25,000 ankle sprains in the U.S. every day, for instance, and four out of every five urgent care centers can handle and treat bone fractures.
- Don't: Skip the emergency room after trauma.
For serious head injuries, broken bones with deformities, or severe burns, get your child to an emergency room. They will have the special equipment necessary to address severe injuries, where time can be of the essence for a speedy recovery.
- Do: Research the nearest facility that provides urgent care for kids.
Don't wait until you require urgent care to learn where your nearest clinic is. It's important to research the types of services provided, too, as some centers may be specifically pediatric-focused, while others center on elder care, for example.
- Don't: Just take your child to any clinic.
Don't assume that any doctor is prepared to provide care to your child. Pediatric medicine is a specialized field; when you can't get to your regular doctor, find a pediatrician in an urgent care center. Around 85% of clinics are open seven days a week.
Your child's health and safety is your top priority, and it should be your doctor's, too. Know when, why, and how you should opt for urgent care treatment over the emergency room, and when you should simply hightail it to the hospital instead.