Being a parent comes with many trials, tribulations, and areas of uncertainty. When your child is injured or sick you want to do what’s best for them, but how do you decide what the best course of action really is? It’s up to you to determine if your child needs an appointment with their pediatrician, a trip to the emergency room, or a simple visit to an urgent care center.

Of course, the decision is one that ultimately depends on the child and the parent, but you should understand some key decision-making factors for when it’s time to decide where to take your child.

Can the Urgent Care Center Handle your child’s needs?

The biggest divider between emergency rooms and urgent care centers are the resources available on-site. An injury such as a compound bone fracture needs to be treated at an emergency room, while a simple sprain or strain can be treated at an urgent care center. Urgent cares most commonly treat:

  • Infections
  • Sprains and strains
  • Cuts/lacerations

Those three categories of illness and injury are generally easily treated by urgent care staff. If your infant has a high fever, however, the urgent care staff will lack the pediatric specialty training needed to treat and diagnosis the problem. If you suspect your child experiences a head injury or other serious illness, take them straight to the emergency room.

Why Parents Choose Urgent Care

Parents choose urgent care centers over emergency rooms for many reasons. First, urgent care centers are able to offer extended staff, hours, and resources when compared to a normal doctor’s office. They also tend to see patients more quickly than emergency rooms, and at a lower cost. Parents choose urgent care centers when they need immediate care for their child, but don’t want to make a trip to an emergency room.

Visiting a traditional ER when not absolutely necessary also exposes your child to a large variety of germs and diseases that could be avoided at a smaller center, such as an urgent care center or doctor’s office.

If you’re unsure instead or not the urgent care is the best choice for your child, give them a call and discuss the symptoms that are going on. Based on the symptoms and their potential cause urgent care staff will be able to send you in the best direction for your child – instead, that’s their facility or an emergency room.