Pediatric Urgent Care Vs. Pediatric Emergency Care: How To Know Where To Take Your Child

Pediatric Urgent Care Vs. Pediatric Emergency CarePediatric medical care is vital to keeping your child healthy and safe. Pediatric urgent care is faster and more affordable than going to the emergency room, but how do you know which is best for your child?

Kids get sick all of the time it’s just a part of growing up. Despite regularity, a simple flu often causes caring parents to overreact and unnecessarily take their child to the emergency room. Going to the hospital is more expensive and time-consuming, and it also puts your child at greater risk for contamination.

Here are some simple tips to help you decide if your child needs pediatric urgent care or emergency care.

Broken Bones Vs. Fractures

If your child has broken bones they should go to the emergency room. If your child has fractures or more minor injuries, they should go to urgent care. 


Infants require greater precaution than children when it coms to fevers. If your baby has a fever it should be treated as an emergency. Fevers in toddlers and older children are usually not cause for emergency care. Urgent Medical Center does not treat infants, but we happily provide compassionate care to children suffering from non-life threatening fevers.

Fevers help the body fight off infection, and so a high temperature is not necessarily a bad thing, but instead a sign that your child’s immune system is working to fight off an infection.

Children can have higher temperatures than adults without the same risks. It’s not necessarily the temperature on the thermometer, but the other symptoms your child is displaying. For instance, if your child has a fever of 103-degrees or higher and is also experiencing confusion and a stiff neck, get them to the emergency room as fast as possible. On the other hand, if they have a 103-degree fever and a stomachache, you could go to urgent care.

If symptoms are not too serious your child may get better without seeing a doctor. If the fever persists visit Urgent Medical Center. You know to go to the ER if your child’s fever persists with more serious and alarming symptoms.


Headaches are a part of life, but children should not get too many headaches. If your child is suffering from frequent headaches you should visit Urgent Medical Center for evaluation just to ensure everything is okay. In most cases, headaches are attributed to tightening of the muscles in the head, but in rare cases they may indicate issues of the brain or more serious illnesses like meningitis.

If your child’s headache includes fever, a stiff neck, vomiting, rash, confusion or abnormal behavior you should go to the emergency room.


Children develop rashes for many different reasons. A rash on your child’s feet or arms is usually nothing to worry about; it’s more concerning if the rash has spread over the entire body. Try touching the rash to see if the skin turns white under pressure, if it does it’s probably an allergic reaction to something. This type of rash is best treated at Urgent Medical Center. 

If the rash does not change color under pressure it may signal an emergency such as sepsis or meningitis. This type of rash may also appear due to vomiting or coughing, so it doesn’t necessarily signal an emergency. If your child has a non-blanching rash it’s generally best to play it safe and go to the ER. 

If your child’s hives are accompanied by lip swelling or labored breathing go to the ER or call 911 right away.

Stomach Bug

Food poisoning or the flu may cause your child to develop a serious stomach bug that makes them very sick. In most cases these illnesses are minor and can be treated at urgent care. It’s important to carefully monitor your child’s symptoms and make sure they are taking in enough fluids to make up for all of the fluids they lose through vomiting and diarrhea.

Dehydration is your biggest enemy and if not monitored carefully can lead to serious issues that require emergency treatment. If your child is experiencing dehydration they may need to be attached to an IV for fluids. Younger children are at the greatest risk for dehydration. 

Stiff Neck

A stiff neck is a known sign of meningitis, causing many parents to panic when they notice their child experiencing stiffness of the neck. The cause of a stiff neck is rarely something that serious, so once again it’s all about assessing your child’s other symptoms to see how serous it is. In most cases, the cause of a stiff neck is related to sore muscles, perhaps caused by sleeping wrong or moving wrong out on the playground. If you are concerned about a stiff neck but your child is not experiencing any other serious symptoms, visit Urgent Care.

If your child’s sore neck is accompanied by a fever, sensitivity to light, vomiting or lethargy you should visit the ER. Before you go into panic mode, it’s important to keep in mind that a fever and stiff neck could also be caused by tonsil inflammation or swollen lymph nodes.

Need help determining if your child needs to go to urgent care or the emergency room? Simply give Urgent Medical Center a call, explain your child’s symptoms and we are happy to help guide you in the right direction!

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