As a new mom or dad, every decision that you make can seem crucial, but a sick or injured baby is likely to be even more worrisome and it's not always easy to know whether your baby should be seen in the emergency room or if an urgent care facility is a better choice. In addition, the severity of certain medical conditions can also impact how quickly your baby needs to access medical care. When you are unsure as to how best to handle your baby's unexpected health, it is a good idea to be aware of the information discussed below.
Going To The Urgent Care Facility When Your Child Cannot Be Seen By your Doctor
In an ideal world, babies would only get sick during the day, during the week and there would always be an immediate opening in the doctor's schedule for him or her to be seen. Sadly, that doesn't occur. That means that even though you would prefer to take your son or daughter in to receive medical care from the pediatrician they usually see, that is often not possible. When that happens, an urgent care facility that sees babies is a great option and it's crucial for you to know when it is appropriate to allow your child to be seen there.
For instance, it's easy to assume that a baby who experienced a febrile seizure should be seen as soon as possible in the emergency room. In that instance, you might even be tempted to call an ambulance for your little one.
However, the American Pediatric Association has said that babies who have experienced a febrile seizure to skip the ER if the following are all true
The seizure in question lasted for less than 15 minutes to your otherwise healthy child
The baby isn't having trouble breathing
Significant pain is not occurring
The baby is able to eat, drink and swallow normally
Other Examples of Appropriate Times For A Visit To Urgent Care
Suspected ear infections, colds, nausea, diarrhea, and allergies that are not life-threatening can often be treated at an urgent care clinic. However, it's best to speak with your pediatrician before a crisis occurs to determine what his or her specific recommendations might be, given that the age of your child and the severity of his or her symptoms will usually affect those recommendations. That is due to the fact that lethargy and vomiting in a three-week-old-baby are frequently much more serious and can become life-threatening faster than those same issues might be for a bigger, older baby.
When The Emergency Room Is A Better Idea
Any health problem that is thought to be life-threatening, exceptionally painful or that might require the use of an MRI machine, access to x-rays, etc. will typically require a trip to the emergency room, since urgent care facilities do not always have those capabilities. For instance, if your child has a febrile seizure that is longer than 15 minutes, loses consciousness, is unresponsive or is not wetting diapers, a trip to the ER is a good idea. The same is true if your little one quit breathing or if breathing is quite difficult, as well as if you suspect broken bones or an injury.
In addition, a baby up to about 12 weeks old should receive immediate emergency medical care if he or she has a fever at or above 100.4°. Babies who are between 12 weeks and six months need to be seen in the emergency room if their fever is above 101°. Babies who are six months or older should proceed to the ER if their temperature is at or above 103 degrees and shows obvious signs of sickness, such as no desire to eat, cough, ear pain, vomiting, etc. As always, check with your pediatrician for advice specific to your baby whenever possible.
In conclusion, a sick or injured baby is a scary situation, especially as a new parent. Therefore, it's a good idea to keep the above information in mind as you are determining how serious the issue is and where your baby needs to be seen by a doctor.