RVA Parenting: When to take your kid to the ER, urgent care or pediatrician

RVA Parenting: When to take your kid to the ER, urgent care or pediatrician

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When your kid is sick, gets hurt, or needs to see a doctor, you want to get the best help, but where to go is not always obvious.

Some conditions can't wait for a pediatrician, but an unnecessary trip to the ER is often very expensive. So, how do you make the call?

We talked to Dr. Mark Flanzenbaum with KidMed, an area urgent care center for kids, to break it all down for us.

When to go to the pediatrician

"Certainly, the daytime hours. The pediatricians, when they have office hours, certainly can and should see their own patients," explained Dr. Flanzenbaum. Pediatricians make a lot of sense for non-life threatening problems during normal business hours. They are also the best stop if you're concerned bout a chronic problem like developmental delays.

Also, go to your pediatrician for immunizations and vaccines. Plus, earaches or virus concerns during normal business hours.

When to go to urgent care

Urgent care can be useful if your child gets very sick on weekends or late at night. Urgent care can handle earaches, sore throats, even broken bones or breathing treatments.

"Neurological, cardiac, we certainly can evaluate and, if they need a specialist like a neurologist or a cardiologist, then we make the phone calls. We make the arrangements for that," said Dr. Flanzenbaum. "The same thing if children need to be hospitalized. I think urgent care kind of gets a myth that it's for the real simple stuff and the difficult stuff goes to the ER. And here, we care for virtually everything that we were able to care for in the emergency room."

When to go to the emergency room

If your child has a life-threatening emergency, something that needs immediate attention or surgery, go straight to the ER. That might include head injuries that require CT scanning, abdominal pain or injury. It's important not to waste time.

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