A major part of making sure you obtain the best health care for your child is knowing where to take him or her when symptoms arise. Although it can be confusing to have to choose between a primary doctor’s office, urgent care center, and emergency center, each place exists for its own significant purpose.
Together, all three types of health care centers allow your child to have both immediate care and consistent care.
Primary Care Doctors
In general, most moms and dads know that a child’s primary care doctor is typically the best option. Your child’s doctor is already acquainted with your child and his or her medical history. Additionally, the doctor has hopefully already formed a relationship with your child and offers some familiarity. It’s best to take your child to the primary doctor for routine exams, minor injuries, and rashes, along with basic, non-threatening symptoms such as aches and pains, loss of appetite, consistent crying, diaper rash, and fever.
Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers are similar to doctor’s offices, but they keep extended hours and are often open on holidays and weekends. Visiting an urgent care center will typically cost more than a trip to the doctor’s office but less than a trip to the emergency room, depending on your insurance coverage. Although urgent care centers lack major diagnostic abilities and are not equipped for severe injuries, they are a solid option if your child’s regular doctor isn’t currently available, or if there is no open appointment slot in the near future. Consider taking your child to urgent care if it’s after hours and your child is suffering from the flu, a sore throat, cuts, sprains, urinary tract infections, or ear infections.
While emergency rooms are likely the most expensive option, the ER is always open and is necessary in life-threatening situations. If your child falls from a high area, has a seizure, or is experiencing breathing problems, heavy bleeding, or a sudden loss of consciousness, the emergency room will get him or her the expert care he needs quickly. Keep in mind that the emergency room treats the most serious cases first, so you might have to wait longer with your child for less severe visits.
To help you determine where to take your child for medical care, try calling the primary care doctor’s advice line. The doctor will listen to your concerns and will likely be able to tell you where you should go for the most effective results.