Are you a parent wondering when to go to urgent care? Is your situation too serious to wait? Here are 5 signs it’s time to get in your car and get medical help!

It’s a challenging dilemma that no parent wants to face.

Your child is sick outside of office hours. You’re desperately trying to ensure you choose the right course of action. Do you wait until the morning, or take them to urgent care?

Of course, there is no tick-box exercise that can determine the right thing to do in every case. But certain guiding principles can help.

Here are 5 telling signs that can guide you when deciding when to go to urgent care. 

1. High Fever with Other Symptoms

In children, it’s important to measure the fever regularly to monitor how serious it is.

High fevers in newborn babies up to three months old are potentially serious and should be treated by a doctor. If your baby’s rectal temperature reaches 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, head straight down to infant urgent care.

In older children, fevers over 102.2°F (39°C) require the attention of the emergency pediatrician. 

Even if their fever is not that high, get the treatment if they frequently get a fever, are having persistent vomiting and diarrhea or the fever has gone on for more than a day.

You should always take breathing difficulties extremely seriously – what’s when to take a baby to ER.

2. Suspected Fracture/Dislocation

If your child suffers a suspected fracture of dislocation out of hours, it’s important to get treatment right away.

Take them down to pediatric urgent care for prompt attention. While the ER may prioritize more time-sensitive cases, pediatric urgent care centers are able to address the issue more quickly.

3. Ongoing Pain

Even kids get pain from time to time, and this usually passes quickly.

But if your child has a pain that just won’t go away, it’s good to get it checked out. 

4. Underlying Conditions

Most coughs and colds are best treated at home and will run their course. However, if your child has another underlying condition, then it’s good to seek a pediatrician’s advice. 

Underlying conditions include, but are not limited to, sickle cell, heart disease, and respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

5. Persistent Eye Problems

Eye problems in kids can take a number of forms. But if it concerning when a child develops an eye problem that has a discharge that is not clearing up.

Not only is this very distressing and uncomfortable for the child, but could indicate that there’s something in their eye, which urgently needs to be removed.

While ER is probably not the best place, an urgent care facility has the out of hours resources and expertise to get to the root of the problem. 

The Takeaway: When to Go to Urgent Care

Knowing when to go to urgent care is tough for any parent, whether caring for your first child, or your latest addition.

Urgent care can bridge the gap between the pediatrician’s office, which its limited availability, and the ER, which is really best for emergencies. If your child is showing symptoms in this guide, or other ongoing issues, then head on down for an assessment.

For more great health tips, check out our Health and Beauty section today!