Call the Pediatrician—Or Head to Urgent Care?
Deciding when to call the pediatrician and when to take your sick or injured child to urgent care can be a tough call.
When to Call the Doctor
Some ailments, such as a simple cough or constipation, don’t usually require medical attention. But call your child’s pediatrician if he or she has:
A fever of 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) or higher in a baby younger than 2 months old (using a rectal thermometer)
A rash, especially if your child also has a fever
A fever accompanied by repeated vomiting
Trouble swallowing or a severe sore throat
Sharp or constant pain in the stomach
Blood in the urine or bloody diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea lasting more than a few hours
A cough or cold that does not improve in several days, or a cold that gets worse and is accompanied by a fever
Discharge from the ear
Ear pain with a fever
An inability to sleep or drink
Limping or an inability to move an arm or leg
While this list is a helpful guide, follow your parenting instinct: If you feel something’s wrong, it’s worth a call to your child’s pediatrician.
When to Visit an Urgent Care Center
In cases of minor injury or illness, urgent care centers are a convenient choice. Consider visiting an urgent care center if your child has:
If your child is severely ill or injured, call 911 right away. Emergency signs include uncontrolled bleeding, seizures, trouble breathing, and unconsciousness.