Childr Health Information

Urgent Care or Emergency Care for Your Child

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Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about using the urgent care or emergency department (ED). Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over anything you do not understand. When your child’s doctor’s office is not open, you may need to take your child to an urgent care center or emergency department. Making the best choice depends on your child’s situation.

What should I do if my child is sick or injured and my doctor’s office is closed?
Your doctor’s office probably has directions for reaching the doctor if the office is closed. If you have time, call your child’s doctor. He or she will let you know if the situation needs immediate attention or if it can wait until the office opens. The doctor may also tell you how to treat your child at home. If needed, your child’s doctor will tell you to take your child to Dayton Children’s Urgent Care or the emergency department. 

What is the difference between an urgent care center and an emergency department?
An urgent care center is designed to treat routine illnesses or injuries—the types of things your doctor would see in his or her office. These might include infections, colds, flu, simple fractures, etc. An emergency department is set up to treat serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries. These might include uncontrollable bleeding, severe head or neck injuries, loss of consciousness, etc.

When should I go to the urgent care?
• If your doctor tells you to
• Colds, cough, flu
• Minor cuts (lacerations) or head injuries
• Minor injuries such as a sprain
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea
• Asthma with mild to moderate wheezing

When should I go to the emergency department?
• If your doctor tells you to
• Uncontrollable bleeding
• Severe difficulty breathing and/or respiratory distress
• Fall from a height
• Serious head or neck injuries
• Asthma with mild to moderate wheezing

Note: Do not hesitate to call 911 if your child is sick or injured. Your child’s well-being should be your number-one concern. Do not try to drive your child to the hospital if  the child is not breathing, having trouble breathing, is seriously injured, is bleeding heavily, or has a life-threatening condition. 

Can I make an appointment?
Appointments are not accepted for the urgent care or emergency department. This is because the sickest or most seriously injured children are seen first.

How long will I have to wait?
Because the sickest and most seriously injured children are seen first, you may have to wait if your child’s condition is not as serious. Waiting will be less stressful if you bring your child’s favorites toys, books, games, etc. You will also want to bring a book, magazine, knitting, etc. as well as change for the pay phone (cell phones may not always work in the hospital) and vending machines.

What should I bring with me?
• Your insurance card
• A list of your child’s medications, allergies and medical history. By putting this together ahead of time, there is no delay in an emergency. This is very important if 
  your child has a chronic condition such as asthma or special needs.

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about using the urgent care or emergency department (ED), please ask your child’s doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information and resources are available in the Family Resource Center at Dayton Children's.  The center is open Monday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; Saturdays 9:00 am–2:00 pm. The center is closed on Sundays and holidays.  Please call 937-641-3700 for more information.

PDF: Urgent Care or Emergency Care for your child

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar www.childrensdayton.org (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2008

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2008

 

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