Children's Health Specialties


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.

When to visit the emergency center

Edward Walton, M.D., director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Beaumont Children's Hospital, recommends 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

Pediatric Urgent Care

When to visit an after-hours clinic or urgent care facility

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 like those offered at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and Beaumont Hospital, Troy. An after-hours clinic (also called "urgent care") is a good option if your doctor's office is closed and your child has:

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

Learn more about Beaumont's pediatric urgent care after-hours clinics, including locations, hours and more.

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

urgent care vs. emergency room

When your child becomes sick or injured, you've got to decide where to take them - urgent care or emergency room?