As a parent, you are well aware that accidents and emergencies happen when most pediatrician offices are closed. Given most primary care physician offices are only open 9-5 on weekdays. In order to combat the late-night fevers or weekend bumps and bruises, many concerned parents will head to the hospital emergency room (ER).
However, oftentimes that’s not the best course of action. Long wait times, intense environments, and high out-of-pocket costs make the ER a less than ideal place for kids. Going to an urgent care clinic also called walk-in clinics, is quicker and can be a less expensive alternative to going to the ER. Even better are urgent care centers focused on pediatric care—which is one of the fastest-growing segments of urgent care medicine.
Here are 9 things to consider before taking your child to urgent care:
1. Urgent Care Hours
Pediatric urgent care clinics treat acute and minor conditions in children typically ages 6 months old up to 21 years of age. Generally, they are open until midnight most days a week and throughout the weekend. This is in addition to your pediatrician’s office. Most of these urgent care clinics provide quick medical attention outside of regular business hours.
2. Specialized Care
A benefit of going to urgent care that specializes in pediatric care, is they are trained for the treatment of children. Urgent care centers are designed to save you unnecessary and sometimes unpleasant trips to the ER. Ninety percent of kids who go to the ER is not seen by pediatric specialists. The conditions that generally send kids to the ER can be treated just as well, sometimes better, at an urgent care clinic that is pediatric friendly.
3. Pediatric Urgent Care vs. ER?
As with any life-threatening conditions, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room (ER). They are able to provide emergency care for you and your child. But if you are unsure and think the issue is not serious, pediatric urgent care is the better way to go.
Emergency rooms have a one to four hour average visit time, are typically $500+ out of pocket for acute care, and are not designed for non-serious children’s illnesses or injuries. In contrast, pediatric urgent care offices, have just a 15-30 minute average wait time, a $156 average out of pocket cost, and are tailored towards kids. Prices and wait time will vary.
Urgent care clinics that are comfortable treating kids is a better option for non-life-threatening conditions.
It is important to know when a child needs to go to an urgent care clinic, wait until their normal physician is available, and when to go to the emergency room. Urgent care is not ideal for emergency situations, something that can not wait to see their normal physician. However, if there is danger of death or serious injury, take the child to an emergency room.
Going to urgent care that is comfortable treating kids for those moments when the child becomes ill on a weekend night. Pediatric urgent care can help a child in the event of a sickness or injury that is not life-threatening, but occurs while their normal doctor is not available. Some of the things that urgent care can treat include:
- Minor accidents and falls
- Allergies and asthma
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration
- Cold or flu symptoms and flu shots
- Earaches and ear infections
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Broken bones
- Burns or cuts
- Sports injuries
- Pain relief
- Sore throat and strep throat
- And other medical conditions
5. Pediatric Urgent Care Difference
Adults and children require different treatment in most situations. Because of this, it is important that the urgent care facility you take your child to have a team that is focused on the care of children. A benefit of pediatric urgent care facilities is they generally have a pediatrician on staff. Having a pediatrician on staff ensures that there is someone who understands the needs of your child.
There are some urgent care clinics that have a pediatrician available for children, but they also have a team dedicated to adults. Prior to bringing your child to urgent care, you should ask several questions that will confirm whether the clinic can meet your needs.
6. Kid-Centric Staff
There are many differences between an ER and pediatric urgent care clinic. Urgent care clinics that focus on children are normally consumer-centric and kid-friendly environments. The staff, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are specifically trained in pediatric medicine. Therefore, they can quickly diagnose and treat common and acute childhood conditions and an added benefit is that they can effectively communicate with your regular pediatrician to keep them informed.
7. Kid-Friendly Environments
While ER waiting rooms are normally stark white, and sometimes scary, pediatric urgent care clinics boast bright colored walls and stickers. Having a cheerful environment can go along way toward making sick kids feel a little better and more comfortable. There will be times when urgent care may be the right option, it does provide a number of benefits for your child.
8. Other Benefits
When your child needs urgent medical care and it simply can not wait until their normal pediatrician is available, consider urgent care that is kid-friendly. This will ensure that they get the treatment necessary. The most important benefit is the ability to coordinate between the urgent care physician and their normal doctor, ensuring that care continues as is needed. Other benefits include:
- Procedures at urgent care clinics are sometimes cheaper than the emergency room.
- Wait times at urgent care is usually shorter than wait time at the emergency room.
- A number of illnesses and injuries can be treated quickly and effectively.
- The convenience and extra hours ensure that your child gets the care they need when they need it.
- Urgent care clinics offer extended hours outside of normal business hours.
9. Is It Right For Your Family?
Which urgent care clinic is the best choice for you and your family? Here are several questions to help evaluate your options as we previously mentioned.
- Are they staffed by board-certified pediatricians or family medicine physicians who are trained in treating children?
- Will they work with your usual pediatrician on any follow-up care?
- Are they a kid-friendly environment?
- Are they comfortable treating your age child?
- Is the front desk comfortable with treating kids?
Restore Health Urgent Care Center
Restore Health is conveniently located in Palm Bay, Florida. They are here to treat your kids, by offering pediatric urgent care services. Restore Health focuses on caring for kids and is open late.
Parents can simply search for “pediatric urgent care near me” or “Restore Health near me” and see how close they are to a convenient location. Best of all, with Restore Health you can book an appointment in a click and know you are getting the best care for your little one. This makes it even easier to get quality pediatric care quickly and to put your mind at ease.