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When to Take a Child to the ER, Urgent Care, or Pediatrician?

Many parents have taken their sick child to the emergency room only to be transferred to an urgent care facility or advised to visit their pediatrician. A high fever can cause a parent to panic and take the “better-safe-than-sorry” approach and bring their child to the ER.

However, the ER is filled with patients who need immediate care, and the chances of your child contracting viruses or infections in the area are high. Not to mention that the costs of emergency care can be shocking.

The proliferation of urgent care facilities has paved the way for more healthcare options for parents. There is also an option to visit your pediatrician’s clinic. However, all these things may be overlooked when a parent becomes overly worried about his or her child’s symptoms.

So, to save you time and money here’s what you should know:

When To Seek Pediatric Care

When there is no medical emergency, and your child doesn’t appear to need care right away, booking an appointment to see your pediatrician is the most viable option. After all, your pediatrician has all your child’s information and medical history on hand.

Many common health conditions can be treated at a pediatrician’s clinic. These include the common cold, frequent coughing, fevers, earaches, and sore throat.

Keep in mind that visiting your child’s pediatrician is better than discussing your child’s condition over the phone. Moreover, going to the pediatrician is cheaper than going straight to the emergency room or urgent care.

When To Go To Urgent Care

Urgent care works best if your pediatrician’s clinic isn’t open, such as during the night or on weekends. It’s also the right choice if you can’t get a quick appointment. An urgent care facility can handle issues such as:

Difficulty swallowing

Severe sore throat

Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts for hours

Fever with a rash

Severe ear pain

Sharp or persistent pains in the stomach

Blood in the urine or stool

The rule of thumb here is if your child can walk, talk, interact and play, the chances are that what she or he has is not an emergency. Moreover, before you head to urgent care, call first to ensure that they treat children because some urgent care facilities impose an age limit.

When To Head To The Emergency Room

If your child has severe illness or injury, the emergency room is the right place to go. When your child is having seizures, has difficulty breathing, or is in severe pain, the ER is the best choice as these are potentially life-threatening conditions. Other sighs you need to keep an eye out for include bluing of your child’s skin or fingernails and general disorientation towards their surroundings.

These are all indications that your child is facing a medical emergency. As such, you need to take swift action that will get them the immediate and specialized care that they need.


It can be overwhelming for parents when their child gets sick, especially newborns, infants, and young children. However, it’s also essential to know when and where you should take your child for treatment. With the information above, you now have better judgment should your child fall ill.

If you are looking for an urgent care facility in Brantford, ON, ours at Brantford Children’s Clinic is one of the best. Contact us now!

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