Should You Take Your Child to the Emergency Room?

Some parents have reservations about taking their child to the emergency room. An emergency room visit can be a frightening experience for a child. Even a pediatric emergency room can be scary and unsettling for a child. 

If your child is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

Of course, it’s often difficult to tell just how serious a medical problem actually is. What if your child falls and breaks her arm? What if he stays up all night vomiting? These are certainly medical emergencies, but do they merit a trip to the ER? When should you take your child to the emergency room?

Pediatrician or acute care

If your child’s symptoms aren’t severe, consider calling the pediatrician and setting up an appointment. It’s possible that the pediatrician can meet with you that day, or the following day. Your child’s pediatrician is familiar with your child’s health and medical history, and your child will be more comfortable seeing his or her regular doctor.

You don’t necessarily need to go to the emergency room if your child’s symptoms can’t wait for an appointment with the pediatrician, though. Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics offers an Acute Care and Walk-in Clinic Monday through Saturday that is staffed by board certified pediatricians. Acute care for children is often a better alternative to the hospital emergency room.

  • The cost of an emergency room visit is much greater than an urgent care, acute care, or a visit with a pediatrician. Cost is an important factor, but it shouldn’t determine the type of care you seek for your child.
  • There can be a long wait in the emergency room, especially if your child’s medical issue isn’t very serious. Children aren’t always patient, and a sick or distressed child can be even more restless. Wait times at acute care clinics may be shorter than the ER.
  • Children may find the emergency room to be a scary place. Being around people who need emergency care, being seen by a strange nurse or doctor, or simply being in a hospital can be intimidating for a small child.

Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics Acute Care & Walk-in Clinic is equipped to handle a number of illnesses and injuries that require medical care fast.

Our acute care and walk-in clinic can help your child with:

  • illness
  • minor burns, cuts, or injuries
  • mild fever
  • stomachache
  • earache
  • sprains
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • minor eye injuries or infections
  • foreign body removal

Our childhood illness knowledge base has a lot of great information on childhood illness, how to treat them at home, and when you should talk to the pediatrician.

When should you take your child to the emergency room?

Sometimes a visit to the emergency room simply can’t be avoided. Urgent  or acute care clinics are not equipped to provide all of the medical services that emergency rooms are equipped for.

Take your child to a an emergency room or pediatric emergency room for:

  • life-threatening medical emergencies
  • vomiting after a head injury
  • loss of consciousness
  • heavy bleeding
  • choking, violent coughing, or anything that makes it difficult for your child to breath.
  • seizures
  • newborns with a fever over 100.4°F

Ultimately, trust your instincts. If you believe that your child needs to go to the emergency room, you should take them.

If you’re unsure, you can call the pediatrician’s office before you take your child to the emergency room. Looking for a pediatrician in the area? Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics has some of the best pediatricians in Arkansas!