When your child gets sick or hurt, it can be challenging to figure out whether they need an urgent care or the emergency room for a visit. During situations like these, both parents and children can get very stressed out and not think clearly about what is happening which is only natural.

As you begin to consider whether your child’s illness or injury is an emergency or not, always make your first call to your child’s pediatrician for guidance unless it’s a true 911-emergency where life safety is threatened. Pediatricians can offer a wealth of information and can help with any general questions you may have as they know your child best.

Illnesses and Injuries That Need Medical Attention but NOT Emergency Care

• Ear infections
• Pink eye
• Possible UTI
• Sore throats and Strep
• Foreign objects in ears and noses
• Vomiting and diarrhea with mild dehydration
• Simple wounds

These types of concerns in most cases often only need to be seen by your pediatrician or an urgent care facility. This list is not conclusive, but if you need more information on what constitutes an emergency or regular office visit, please give us a call!

Emergency Medical Situations

These types of situations are scary for both children and parents. Often times, when true emergencies occur, the first thing that both parents and children do is panic. In situations such as those below, call 911 or go to the ER immediately. It is likely that after the emergency situation has passed, your pediatrician will be in touch and may want to do a follow up appointment for your child.

• Large lacerations and bleeding that won’t stop

• Fevers over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in children younger than 2 months

• Seizures lasting over two minutes especially in children with no prior history of seizures, OR any of the following conditions after a head injury: decreased level of alertness, confusion, vomiting, headache, irritability or difficulty walking or coordinating movement

• Loss of consciousness

• Severe abdominal pain

• Severe burns

• Swallowed object with a difficulty breathing or swallowing

• Bone fractures

• Poisonings

• Eye pain

• Venomous bites or stings with spreading local redness and swelling, or evidence of general illness or anaphylaxis

These are just a few examples of true emergencies and in some cases 911 will need to be called and an ambulance sent to pick you and your child up for transport to the Emergency Room. If you still aren’t sure if something falls under a true emergency, call your pediatrician, go to the ER, or call 911 immediately, as it is better safe than sorry.

For more information regarding how to tell if a situation is a real health emergency, click here.