As a parent, if your child gets sick or injured, you want them to get the right care and treatment as soon as possible. That time you panic and you might not know whether to take your child to an urgent care pediatrician or seek emergency care.
Urgent care centers vary from emergency rooms and each of them serves unique functions. In this article, we have discussed the differences between the two and where to go for common health emergencies for kids.
What is Pediatric Urgent Care?
Pediatric urgent care centers provide care for children with non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses, such as minor cuts, fractures, infections, colds, and flu.
Pediatricians and family physicians usually treat young patients in a pediatric urgent care clinic. These physicians are well-equipped to handle a wide range of medical conditions, such as the ones stated above.
What is Emergency Care?
A visit to an emergency room (ER) means your child is facing what might be a life-threatening medical condition, such as severe allergic reactions, seizures, and breathing difficulties. ERs have trained specialists for a variety of medical emergencies, including pediatric emergency care.
The Differences Between Pediatric Urgent Care and ERs
While the non-life-threatening vs. life-threatening medical conditions mark the distinct difference between urgent care and ER for children, these two medical facilities have more differences.
- Operating Hours
Most pediatric urgent care clinics are open for extended hours, including weekends and holidays. Some are even open 24/7, providing immediate medical attention for children when needed. Emergency rooms, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be open 24/7 to respond to emergency situations at all hours of the day.
- Wait Times
Wait times for pediatric urgent care clinics are generally shorter than those of emergency rooms. Though urgent care clinics for children don’t require appointments, patients are typically attended to on a first-come, first-serve basis. The average wait time at a pediatric urgent care clinic is approximately 30 minutes.
Emergency rooms, meanwhile, are more unpredictable. The wait times at ERs can vary significantly depending on the number of patients in need of immediate medical attention. It is not uncommon for patients to wait several hours to receive medical attention at an emergency room.
- Follow-Up Care
Pediatric urgent care clinics do not provide long-term care. Once your child’s urgent care needs have been addressed, you will need to take their child to a primary care physician for further treatment, if necessary. The clinic will likely refer you to a pediatrician or family physician for follow-up care.
In contrast, emergency rooms can long-term care in some cases. The follow-up care will depend on the nature of your child’s condition, and it may be necessary to seek further medical attention from a primary care physician or specialist.
Pediatric urgent care clinics are generally more affordable than ERs, although the costs can vary depending on the services your child needs.
In general, though, urgent care centers have lower fees for co-pays and deductibles than ERs. This makes pediatric urgent care an attractive option for parents who do not want to spend a fortune on medical care.
Consult with a Reliable Urgent Care Clinic
KidzNow Urgent Care is an urgent care pediatric clinic in San Antonio, TX that offers high-quality and compassionate healthcare services for children.