When to Take Your Baby to the ER instead of the Urgent Care

When it comes to your child, doctor visits are considered a part of the package – children are seen in clinics, urgent cares, and emergency rooms.  Kids are seen for a variety of reasons; most commonly illnesses and unintentional injuries.  Accidental falls dramatically outrank all other causes of nonfatal injuries until the preteen years.  Fatal injuries, on the other hand, are most commonly caused by suffocation for babies, drowning for toddlers, and vehicle crashes for older children/teens.

With the number of illnesses or injuries that children may experience, it’s important to know when a visit to the pediatrician or urgent care is appropriate versus when to go to the ER.  The good news: the majority of conditions your child will experience will be best treated in the peds office or urgent care.

However, the following conditions do mandate an ER visit:

* Fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in a baby 3 months or younger

* Inconsolable crying or bulging appearance of the soft spot in babies after a fall involving head trauma

* Vomiting that comes on after injury or is severe and ongoing

* Significant trouble breathing or turning blue

* A deep cut with profuse or nonstop bleeding

* Stiff neck accompanied by fever, light sensitivity, or headache- this can indicate meningitis

* Obvious fractured extremity


In order to minimize injuries and needless doctor visits remember to:

* Vaccinate your child according to your doctor’s recs

* Supervise young children closely, especially during active play

* Teach children, even toddlers, how to swim or float

* Insist your children wear helmets for physical activities like biking and roller skating

* Buckle up your children in seat belts for every trip, no matter how short, and have them ride in the proper seat for their sizes

* Put babies to sleep on their backs, not their tummies. Swaddling can help them stay in the right position

Even with these safety measures, accidents happen.  Whether you have a newborn or older child, medical visits may be inevitable. ExpressMD is your community health resource.  We are available to examine your child and treat a variety of routine/urgent conditions including infections and injuries.

We know that worrying about your child’s health is a natural part of parenting and we’re here to provide care while alleviating some of life’s worries for  parents like you.