Urgent Care or ER: Which is the Better Option?

I recently had an accident with Madison where she needed stitches. This wasn’t the first time though, it was the third. The first time she had an accident, I did wonder where it would be best to take her. After consulting my mom and friends, they told me that it would be better to go to urgent care for her laceration, and they were right. If you haven’t been through an accident with your child you may not know what to do. So I thought I would explain the differences between an Urgent Care and an ER.

Why take your child to an Urgent Care Center?

Urgent Care Centers are a cheaper and quicker option for minor, non-life-threatening emergencies. Most insurances have a smaller copay for an urgent care center as opposed to the Emergency room. At the ER, more serious patients are seen first, which means that if your child has a mild fever, it may be a while before you will be seen. Plus, the more people there are at the Emergency Room with minor injuries, the longer it will take for everyone to be seen. It is a much better option to visit an Urgent Care Center for minor injuries because they are almost like an extension of your doctor’s office. It is a smaller facility than an emergency room and moves at a much quicker pace.

I’ve had to take Madison to the urgent care twice for stitches and we were in and out within two hours of arrival. The one time I took her to the Emergency Room was because the urgent care was already closed. She had lacerated her lip and required stitches. I didn’t want to wait until the following morning so I went to the emergency room and was there for about 5 hours for stitches.

If your child has a minor sickness like a mild rash, fever, or a cold, it’s better to take them to an Urgent Care Center.

When to take your child to the Emergency Room?

For more serious injuries, or if your child has a history of sickness, the emergency room will be the better option. Urgent Care centers may be able to diagnose, but in the end, they will most likely send you to go to the emergency room for further treatment. To save time and money, you’re better off going straight to the emergency room. Injuries that are best served at the Emergency Room are things like broken bones or head injury with loss of consciousness. 

For more information, or if you’re not sure, visit the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital website or call them for information. Or if you’re in the middle of a life-threatening emergency, please dial 911.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor can I give you medical advice. This is an opinion article based on my experience as a mother with my children and a little bit of research. If you have any medical questions, please contact your physician.

Urgent Care or Emergency Room Infographic

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