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Urgent Care Vs The Emergency Room

It happens... a weekend fall from the backyard tree house, an evening gash on the forehead or a middle-of-the night fever.

As a parent, you're looked upon to make important health care decisions on behalf of your child. When they become sick or injured, you've got to quickly decide where to take them - urgent care or the emergency room?

Families that have a doctor for their children can always call the physician's office for guidance about the best place for treatment. However, as many parents can attest, illnesses and injuries often occur after hours, on weekends and during holidays.


The experts at the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Emergency Center recommend parents go to a hospital emergency center staffed by pediatric-trained physicians if a child is experiencing any of the following:

  • wheezing or shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • lacerations that might require sedation to close
  • displaced fractures
  • fainting, dizziness, weakness
  • bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • abdominal pain
  • fever with convulsions or any fever in children under 3 months
  • confusion or changes in mental status
  • coughing or vomiting blood
  • severe headache, head injuries
  • blood in the urine, or bloody diarrhea


If your child's symptoms are not as severe and don't require a trip to the emergency center, parents can visit an after-hours pediatric clinic or urgent care. These may be good options if a child needs to be seen in the evening or on the weekend for and he or she has:

  • cough, cold or sore throat rash, skin irritations
  • fever or flu-like symptoms mild injuries
  • earache

In an emergency, call 911. For less urgent concerns, contact your primary care physician. For an appointment with a Beaumont Children's physician, call 800-633-7377.