Emergency Services or Urgent Care? Where to Take Your Child When They Require Medical Attention

By Adam Simpson
Adam Simpson
Adam Simpson
July 16, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

When your child is unwell or injured, it’s easy to start panicking, especially if they are a young child and unable to describe their symptoms to you in a clear and comprehensible manner.

In the vast majority of cases, the symptoms will clear up on their own, without the need for medical intervention. However, there are certain symptoms that every parent needs to be aware of, as they are possible indications of a more serious problem.

When to take your child to the Emergency Room

Above all else, it’s important to pay attention to your parental instinct. After injury or illness, observe your child carefully. It’s very normal for a child to show distress when feeling unwell, or after they have hurt themselves, however, if they display any of the following symptoms, then it is a definite cause for significant concern:

  • Drowsiness or lack of response. If your child becomes unnaturally drowsy, floppy or unresponsive, particularly after a head injury, then it’s recommended to take them to the Emergency Room.

  • Difficulty breathing. If your child is struggling to breathe, this is a sign of medical emergency. Also look out for any blueness to the skin or lip area, which indicates lack of oxygen in their bloodstream.

  • Seizure. If your child has a seizure, whether unexplained or due to high temperature, take them immediately to the Emergency Department.

  • Severe bleeding, particularly if it won’t stop. If your child cuts themselves to a serious degree, this is also considered a medical emergency, particularly if you are unable to stop the bleeding.

When to take your child to your local Urgent Care clinic

There are times when symptoms will be less severe, and in these cases, heading to your local Urgent Care clinic is advisable. Here are just some of the ailments that an Urgent Care clinic can assist with:

  • Fever. If your child is suffering with fever, then your local practitioner at the Urgent Care clinic can help, unless it is over 104 F (taken orally) or 103 (taken under the armpit). Also, if your child is under 2 months old, it is advisable to take them to the Emergency Department instead.

  • Stomach complaints, sickness and diarrhea. If your child is suffering with any stomach complaint, your Urgent Care clinic will be able to help ease their discomfort.

  • Sprains, strains and mild cuts. If your child injures themselves to a less serious degree, then visit your local clinic rather than taking them to hospital.

  • Colds, coughing or bronchitis. Again, unless symptoms are so severe that your child is struggling to breathe, Urgent Care clinics will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment for your child.

If you’re unsure exactly where to take your child and you’re confident that the symptoms don’t indicate an immediate medical emergency, then it’s advisable to call your nearest Urgent Care clinic for professional advise and guidance. The professionally trained staff can help answer your questions and advise you on the best possible course of action to take.

Adam Simpson