Kansas City,
16:04 PM

ER or Urgent Care for your child?

It’s a dreaded instance in any parent’s life, the moment when you have to determine just how serious your child’s medical needs are. Did that slip cause them to break their ankle or just sprain it? Is that fever a passing bug or a serious illness? Is that stomach ache from eating too many cookies or from eating something potentially dangerous? We’ll look at when you should take them to an emergency room and when an urgent care facility will suffice. However, there is one rule parents should always follow.

If you believe your child requires emergency medical care or has a life threating condition, you should take them to the ER or dial 911. It is always better to remain safe than sorry.

But what are the differences between urgent care and the emergency room? And is there any way to differentiate between which one is best for your child’s situation?

For medical emergencies, parents should have the address and information of a children’s hospital on hand. Children are not small adults and should not be treated as such. For example, Children’s Mercy has two trauma certified ERs specially equipped with child-sized equipment as well as doctors, nurses and other personnel specially trained to deal with children. The two locations in Kansas City and Overland Park are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For more information on the emergency rooms at Children’s Mercy, click here.

For occasions when you want your child seen as fast as possible, but their symptoms are not life-threating and your pediatrician’s office is closed, an urgent care doctor can provide prompt answers and treatment. Again, it’s best to look for an urgent care facility that is specifically focused on pediatrics, staffed by board-certified pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners. Children’s Mercy provides three such facilities throughout the metro, open every day from noon to 10 p.m., which can treat children up until the age of 18.

So what type of ailments can an urgent care treat? The following is a list of some of the most common symptoms that urgent care sees.

Having a sick child is always a scary moment, but checking beforehand into which care facilities are available in your area is a smart way to be prepared. It’s helpful to remember urgent care has on-site lab testing, X-rays and doctors that are available beyond normal pediatrician office hours.


To learn more about pediatric urgent care provided by Children’s Mercy, click here.