Pediatric Urgent Care: Minor Problem vs. True Emergency

In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your child is suffering from a minor health problem or a true emergency. As a parent, even the smallest injuries can feel like major disasters, because let’s face it –every child is a gift, so protecting them from injuries, diseases, and conditions is essential. Nevertheless, when the time comes, you’ll need to figure out if your child’s injury or ailment requires basic or advanced medical care.

At Good Night Pediatrics, we are dedicated to treating your child’s illnesses and injuries after your doctor’s office has closed. As the only all night pediatric urgent care in Arizona and Nevada (we open at 5 p.m.), we strive to offer medical care that puts your child’s needs first – no matter what. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between an urgent care clinic and emergency room, and which facility may be best suited for your child’s healthcare needs.

Pediatric Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room

The team at Good Night Pediatrics values quality patient education, and it’s important to us that you understand what it is we can and cannot do for your child. It’s imperative parents know the difference between a pediatric urgent care and an emergency room. Knowing this information will be crucial as you figure out where to go in the event of an injury or illness.

Urgent Care Clinics

First and foremost, urgent care clinics are defined as centers that treat minor medical conditions before they become life threatening emergencies. There are many benefits to visiting an urgent care clinic – patients often experience shorter waiting times at an urgent care compared to an ER. Of course, this varies depending on the patient’s condition or injury.

Please note that major injuries and ailments are always treated first, so if your child is suffering from a less serious case of a cold, flu, infection, or injury, he or she may have to wait to be seen.

Another benefit to visiting a pediatric urgent care over an ER is the cost – urgent care clinics are typically a much more cost-effective option for patients. Overuse/inappropriate use of the ER is one of the main reasons for the higher costs and rate increases for insurance premiums, so visiting an urgent care clinic for minor illnesses is often preferred.

Lastly, pediatric urgent care clinics are equipped with various medical tools, devices, and equipment that may not be readily available at your child’s pediatrician office. Good Night Pediatrics offers x-ray and laboratory services on-site to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan for your child.  We have specialty-trained clinicians and are open seven days of the week, 365 days of the year! 

Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms are defined as the department of a hospital that provides prompt treatment of acute illness, trauma, or other medical emergencies.  These facilities are absolutely essential for patients with life-threatening injuries or conditions, such as: 

·      Coughing up or vomiting blood

·      Extreme fever

·      Head trauma with loss of consciousness

·      Major life and limb threatening injuries

·      Poisoning

·      Seizures

·      Severe bleeding

·      Severe shortness of breath

Emergency rooms often contain critical care units, certified medical centers (i.e. neurology, heart, etc.), specialty-trained clinicians, a vast array of diagnostic imaging services, and on-site laboratory. 

So, which one should you visit?

As we mentioned in the paragraph above, urgent care clinics are for non-life threatening conditions and emergency rooms are the opposite – they cater to life-threatening injuries and illnesses. 

You can also reference our “When to Visit” section as a general rule of thumb for when you should/shouldn’t come into Good Night Pediatrics. If your child is seizing, bleeding profusely, vomiting uncontrollably, or unconscious, call 911 or take them to an emergency room immediately.

To find the clinic closest to you, please visit our “Locations” page.