Emergency Room, Urgent Care or Family Doctor?

Sometimes you know instantly if your child needs quick medical care. Other times, it’s hard to detemine if an injury or illness needs the attention of a health care provider, and if it does, whether that means a trip to the ER, a call to your doctor, or a visit to the nearest urgent care center. These guidelines can help.


When to call 911

For a serious emergency, call 911. Some situations are so serious that you need the help of trained medical personnel on the way to the hospital.

Call 911 if your child:

  • Isn’t breathing or is turning blue
  • Is unconscious after a fall
  • Is having a seizure
  • Has a serious allergic reaction
  • Has a broken bonethat sticks out through the skin
  • Took an unknown amount of medicine and is now hard to rouse
  • Is choking
  • Has a large cutthat’s bleeding uncontrollably

When to go to the emergency department

An ER (emergency room), also called an emergency department (ED), can handle a wide variety of serious problems. They are equipped to handle life-threatening illnesses and injuries at any time of the day or night.

Go to the ER if your child has:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swallowed objects
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Major injuries
  • Broken bones
  • A major decrease in activity level
  • A fever in an infant less than 3 months old

When to call your primary care physician/pediatrician

For less urgent problems, call your child’s primary care provider or pediatrician. Your provider, or a nurse who works in the office, can help you decide what steps to take and how.

Call for problems such as:

  • Colds or coughs
  • Ear infections
  • Pink eye
  • Rashes
  • Mild fever
  • Immunizations
  • Annual and sports physicals


Calling your child’s regular provider for these kinds of concerns allows for a continuity of care, which means always seeing a provider who knows you and your child.


When it’s not practical to get to your provider’s office or it’s after hours and the office is not open, that’s when you might think about getting medical care at an urgent care center. It’s a good idea to talk with your child’s health care provider about these options before you need to use them.


When to go to urgent care

Urgent care centers can evaluate and treat the same problems as your regular health care provider. These centers also can provide services like X-rays, stitches and splints. If you’re heading to Dayton Children’s urgent care you can save your spot before you go to minimize your wait time. Save your spot at childrensdayton.org/saveyourspot


Other problems urgent care can treat include:

  • Sprains
  • Flu/colds/fevers
  • Ear ache
  • Sore throat
  • Minor cuts and burns


Being prepared the next time your child needs medical attention by knowing where to go can help your son or daughter get the best care possible.



Snippet preview

Emergency Room, Urgent Care or Family Doctor?


Focus keyword

Emergency Room, Urgent Care or Family Doctor?


SEO Title

Emergency Room, Urgent Care or Family Doctor?


Meta description

When your child is sick or injured do you know where to go? Read on for tips on when to go to the emergency room, urgent care or your family doctor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *