Most pediatrician offices are only open 9-5 on weekdays. So for those late-night fevers or nasty weekend scrapes, many worried parents head to the emergency room. But oftentimes, that’s not the best course of action. Long wait times, intense environments, and high out-of-pocket costs make the ER a less than ideal place for kids. Pediatric urgent care—the fastest growing segment of urgent care medicine—can be a far better option.
What is Pediatric Urgent Care?
Pediatric urgent care clinics treat acute and minor conditions in children. Typically open until midnight and throughout the weekend, they supplement your pediatrician’s office by providing quick medical attention outside of business hours or when your regular doctor isn’t available.
Pediatric urgent care is designed to save you unnecessary (and unpleasant) trips to the ER. Ninety percent of kids who go to the ER aren’t seen by pediatric specialists anyway. Most conditions that send kids to the ER can be treated just as well, if not better, at a pediatric urgent care clinic.
Children don't always get sick or hurt during normal business hours. Because of this, there is a need for pediatric urgent care. This type of health care is specific to children who need medical attention after a clinics regular hours.
Where Can I Find a Pediatric Urgent Care?
There are a number of options for pediatric urgent care. Many clinics offer this as a service to their patients. However, there are also a number of clinics that specialize in after-hours care for children. These are stand-alone clinics that only deal with urgent care situations.
What are the Services of a Pediatric Urgent Care?
It's important to know when a child needs to go to an urgent care clinic, when it can wait until their normal physician is available, and when to go to the emergency room. Urgent care is not ideal for emergency situations. If there is danger of death or serious injury, take the child to an emergency room.
Pediatric urgent care can help a child in the event of a sickness or injury that is not life threatening, but occurs while their normal doctor is not available. This is frequently in the evenings or on weekends. Some of the things that urgent care can treat include:
- Minor accidents and falls
- Allergies and asthma
- Vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration
- Cold or flu symptoms
- Ear aches and ear infections
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Broken bones
- Burns or cuts
- Sports injuries
- Pain relief
- Sore throat and strep throat
- And more
How is Pediatric Urgent Care Different?
Children require different treatment than adults in many situations. Because of this, it's important that the urgent care facility you take your child to understands this. Pediatric urgent care facilities generally have a pediatrician on staff, ensuring that there is someone who understands the needs of your child.
Who Works at a Pediatric Urgent Care Facility?
The facility will generally be staffed with a number of people. This will include nurses, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and doctors. At a pediatric centered facility, there will usually be one or more pediatricians on site at all times. In addition, these facilities usually have labs on site, meaning that there will also be lab technicians available.
Benefits of Urgent Care for Your Child
As opposed to the ER, pediatric urgent care clinics are consumer-centric and kid-friendly environments run by pediatricians. The staff, including nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, are specifically trained in pediatric medicine. As a result, they can quickly diagnose and treat common and acute childhood conditions (fevers, earaches, broken bones) and effectively communicate with your regular pediatrician to keep them informed. Bright colors and stickers (as opposed to scary ER wait rooms), can go also long way toward making sick kids feel a little better. While urgent care may not always be the right option, it does provide a number of benefits for your child.
- In many cases, the procedures at urgent care are cheaper than the emergency room.
- Urgent care usually has a shorter wait than the emergency room. In addition, when considering urgent care, pediatric-centric facilities usually have a shorter wait than full service centers.
- A number of illnesses and injuries can be treated quickly and effectively.
- The convenience and extra hours ensure that your child gets the care they need when they need it.
When your child needs medical care that simply can't wait until their normal pediatrician is available, consider pediatric urgent care. This will ensure that they get the treatment necessary. On top of this, you'll be able to coordinate between the urgent care physician and their normal doctor, ensuring that care continues as is needed.
How to Choose a Pediatric Urgent Care?
Which urgent care clinic is the best choice? Here are three questions to help evaluate your options:
- Are they staffed by board-certified pediatricians or family medicine physicians who are trained in treating children?
- Will they work with your usual pediatrician on any follow-up care?
- Are they a kid-friendly environment?
To save you guesswork, Solv carefully vets all of the pediatric urgent care clinics we recommend.
Should I go to Pediatric Urgent Care or to the ER?
For life-threatening conditions, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room (ER). But if you’re unsure and think the issue isn’t serious, pediatric urgent care is the better way to go. Emergency rooms have a one to four hour average visit time, are typically $500+ out of pocket for acute care, and aren’t designed for non-serious children’s illnesses or injuries. Pediatric urgent care offices, on the other hand, have just a 15-30 minute average wait time, a $156 average out of pocket cost, and are tailored towards kids.*
Booking Pediatric Urgent Care with Solv
Solv partners with reputable urgent care clinics that focus on caring for kids and are open late. Parents can search for nearby options and book an appointment in a click. This makes it even easier to get quality pediatric care quickly (and to put your mind at ease).
RELATED URGENT CARE FAQS
Is Urgent Care Covered by Insurance?
Are Urgent Cares Open on Weekends and Holidays?
Do I Need an Appointment for an Urgent Care?
How Long Do I Have to Wait at an Urgent Care?
Is Urgent Care Covered by Medicare?
How Much Does Urgent Care Cost?
Are Urgent Care Centers Expensive?
Pediatric Urgent Care vs. Adult Urgent Care