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Urgent Care or the ER for your child? A Guide from Stanford Children's Health.

When a sudden illness or injury strikes your child after-hours, it's important to know where to turn. Understanding your options is a good first step to making a decision about getting care for a non-life threatening condition that takes place outside of doctor office hours.

Pediatric specialists at Stanford Children's Health offer the following guidelines to help you determine whether pediatric urgent care or the emergency room should be your first stop for a hurt child.

Pediatric Urgent Care

Pediatric Urgent Care

Examples of conditions that require treatment right away but are not immediately life-threatening:

  • Ear ache or sinus pain
  • Heat stroke and dehydration
  • Mild fevers, cold or flu symptoms
  • Mild or moderate asthma attack
  • Mildly bleeding cuts
  • Minor allergic reactions and rashes
  • Minor burns
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Painful urination
  • Pink eye or other minor eye problems
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains or strains
Pediatric Emergency Room

Pediatric Emergency Room

Examples of conditions that require immediate medical treatment:

  • Difficulty breathing or speaking
  • Eye or head injuries
  • High fevers
  • Infant under 12 weeks old with fever
  • Loss of consciousness or vision
  • Numbness in face or limbs
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe asthma attacks
  • Severe burns
  • Severe coughs, congestion, and sinus problems
  • Severe cut or laceration
  • Suspected drug overdose or poison
  • Traumatic injury

Anita Juvvadi, M.D. is the Medical Director at Stanford Children's Health Urgent Care in Palo Alto, Ca. and pediatrician at Juvvadi Pediatrics in Mountain View. She is quick to remind parents that when in doubt, always call 911. "If you question your ability to drive or fear your child's condition could worsen, calling 911 is the fastest way to get emergency medical care."

Stanford Children's Health provides care at more than 60 locations across the Bay Area, including pediatric urgent care and emergency room care in Palo Alto and also in Walnut Creek in partnership with John Muir Health.

From WebMD

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