5 Benefits of Taking Your Child to a Pediatric Urgent Care
When your kiddo is sick or injured and your pediatrician’s office is closed, urgent care can help bridge the gap until you can follow up with your primary doctor.
Urgent cares are designed to save unnecessary trips to the Emergency Room (ER), and are easy to access, have shorter wait times and cost less than an ER visit. (Children with serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses should be taken directly to the ER or call 911.)
However, not all urgent cares are created equal. Here are the benefits of taking your child to a pediatric urgent care instead of a general urgent care.
The Pediatric Specialists
Pediatric specialists only work with children. Most providers of general urgent care are not pediatric specialists. Because the intent of a general urgent care center is to offer care for people of all ages, the doctors and other providers there are typically trained in family or emergency medicine. These specialties allow for only a few months of pediatric training rather than the 3 years for a pediatrician. The care approach to illness and injury for an adult doesn’t always translate well to children.
General urgent cares also accommodate wellness types of exams, which include immunizations, school and sports physicals, as well as chronic disease management. Pediatric urgent cares intentionally don’t provide these types of exams, because anything that has to do with a chronic illness or wellness issue should be handled by the child’s primary pediatrician or medical home.
Expertise in Pediatric Injuries
Kids are not small adults, and the treatment and care that’s appropriate for an adult, doesn’t always work for a five-year-old. Pediatric urgent care doctors and nurse practitioners really understand the mechanisms of pediatric injury and how these often differ from an adult injury. Children have growing bones, with unique areas likely to be injured according to their stage of development.
Medication Dosing for Kids
Another benefit of a pediatric urgent care is pediatric dosing of medication, choice of medication and appropriate use of antibiotics.
Pediatric specialists understand the unique effects of certain medications including adverse effects most likely to happen in children, especially in young children and their developing brains. Another pediatric subtlety of prescribing medication is to make sure it’s not only effective, but also is one likely to be tolerated by the child.
Counseling parents about the use of over-the-counter cough and cold preparations is just as important. We discuss what therapies parents should be using, for how long, and what side effects they need to be aware of when giving a child the medication.
Exam rooms in pediatric urgent cares are outfitted with smaller equipment designed specifically for kids, which includes temperature probes, blood pressure cuffs and scales. Everything is scaled to allow us to examine a teeny-tiny baby all the way up to an older adolescent.
If a child needs a boot, splint or sling – all sizes are available and can even be adjusted down to baby sizes. Image gently guidelines are followed, which means the child receives up to 80 percent less radiation during an x-ray.
Pediatric urgent care staff are trained in child life techniques to help reduce stress and worry that comes with being sick or injured. This allows for us to do those sometimes difficult things, such as collecting blood, in a child-friendly way.
The other thing that’s important is keeping families together and not separating kids from their parents when they’re acutely ill or injured, when kids and parents are often scared. We also incorporate the child in the visit to the degree they can interact.
Not only are pediatric urgent cares kid-sized, they’re kid-friendly. From the colorful artwork on the walls, to the toys that help keep the kiddos distracted, to the reading material in the waiting rooms and patient rooms, everything is kid-appropriate.
We also keep plenty of kid-friendly snacks, prizes and stickers on hand to help make the visit easier for children. No parent ever expects to end up at urgent care and our hope is to help make the day of a sick or injured kid a little better.
Learn more about our urgent care locations conveniently located throughout the Kansas City area.
Learn more about Save My Spot. You choose the time you’d like to come in and we’ll hold your spot.
Learn more about when to go to the Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care.