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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

What is paediatric urgent care?

Children don't always get sick or hurt during normal business hours. Because of this, there is a need for paediatric urgent care.




As a parent, it's only natural to feel concerned when your child falls ill or gets injured. In these moments, knowing where to turn for immediate medical attention can make all the difference. Paediatric urgent care is a specialized form of healthcare designed to address sudden, non-life-threatening medical needs in children. Let's explore what paediatric urgent care is (and isn't!) and provide you some practical advice and tips to help you navigate these situations with confidence.

Understanding Paediatric Urgent Care: Paediatric urgent care centers are facilities specifically equipped to handle a wide range of non life-threatening but urgent medical conditions in children, from infancy through adolescence. Its important to note that children require different treatment than adults in many situations. Because of this, paediatric urgent care facilities have paediatricians on staff, ensuring that there is always someone who understands the needs of your child and can provide specialized care tailored to their unique needs.


As opposed to the Emergency Room (ER), paediatric urgent care centres are consumer-centric and kid-friendly environments run by trained paediatric staff. As a result, they can quickly diagnose and treat common and acute childhood conditions and effectively communicate with your child's regular paediatrician to keep them informed. Bright colors and stickers (as opposed to sometimes scary ER wait rooms), can go also long way toward making sick children feel a little better.

Some examples of when to Seek Pediatric Urgent Care:


Fever: Persistent fever that doesn't respond to over-the-counter medication should prompt a visit to an urgent care center.

Minor Injuries: This includes cuts, scrapes, minor fractures or sprains, and burns. If you suspect a more severe injury, the emergency room may be more appropriate.

Respiratory Issues: For mild to moderate breathing difficulties, coughs, or wheezing, urgent care can provide timely assessment and treatment.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Issues: Infections, earaches, sore throats, and sinus issues can often be addressed in paediatric urgent care.

Digestive Problems: Persistent vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so prompt medical attention is important.


Skin Conditions: Rashes, insect bites, and allergic reactions can often be treated at an urgent care center.



Practical Tips for Parents:


Know the out of hours emergency and urgent care facilities available locally:

Having this information readily available can save precious time in an emergency.


Contact Your Paediatrician First: If possible, consult your child's paediatrician for advice before heading to an urgent care center. They can provide guidance on the best course of action.


Pack an "Urgent Care Kit": Include essentials like insurance information, any relevant medical records, a list of allergies, a change of clothes and a few comfort items for your child.


Stay Calm and Comfort Your Child: Children often take cues from their parents. Staying calm and providing reassurance can help alleviate anxiety and make the experience less stressful for everyone.


Expect a Thorough Assessment: Paediatric urgent care professionals are trained to perform comprehensive evaluations. Be prepared to provide a detailed medical history and a description of your child's symptoms.


Follow Up with Your Paediatrician: After receiving care at an urgent care center, do ensure you follow up with your child's regular paediatrician. They will want to be informed and may need to provide additional care or treatment.



Choosing Between Urgent Care and the Emergency Room (ER): In some cases, the nature of the condition might warrant a visit to the ER instead of an urgent care center. For life-threatening conditions, call 811 or head to the closest ER. For example, if your child is experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe bleeding, or a suspected serious bone fracture, head to the ER immediately. But if you’re unsure and think the issue isn’t serious, paediatric urgent care is the better way to go. When your child needs medical care that simply can't wait until their normal pediatrician is available, consider pediatric urgent care. Knowing what pediatric urgent care entails and being prepared for emergencies can make a world of difference when your child is unwell or injured. With the right information and a calm approach, you can navigate these situations with confidence and ensure your child receives the best possible care.


Remember, trust your instincts as a parent. If you're ever unsure about the severity of your child's condition, seek medical attention promptly.


Follow Just Kidz Emergency Medical (justkidzmed) on Instagram, Facebook and Linked In to find out more!


Be well,

Paula


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Dr Paula Robertson is a busy mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years' experience working with young people and their families. She is also a certified children's mindfulness teacher and Positive Discipline Parenting coach. You can find out more at www.paulathedoctormom.com.

Our AI wellness assistant has contributed to the writing of this article





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