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When to go: Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care

When your child needs medical care and can’t wait until your doctor’s office opens, where should you go? This chart will help you know whether a visit to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room is best. Urgent Care is not intended for emergencies, but is appropriate for minor illnesses and injuries. Remember, if your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Emergency Room


  • Asthma attack (severe)

  • Bleeding that won't stop

  • Broken bone (looks bent, curved or deformed)

  • Burn (severe)

  • Cast problems (soiled or wet)

  • Cut (severe)

  • Fainting

  • Fever (infants less than 2 months old)

  • Head injury (loss of consciousness or extreme impact)

  • Headache (migraine)

  • Pneumonia (diagnosed and with worsening symptoms)

  • Poisoning

  • Seizure

  • Stomach pain (severe)

  • Swallowed object

  • Trouble breathing

  • Ultrasound, CT scan or MRI



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Urgent Care

  • Allergies

  • Asthma attack (minor)

  • Broken bone (not bent)

  • Bronchiolitis

  • Burn (minor)

  • Cold

  • Cough

  • Cut (minor)

  • Dehydration

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • Earache and ear infection

  • Fever (children over 2 months old)

  • Headache

  • Head injury (no loss of consciousness, minor impact)

  • Insect or minor dog bite

  • Nausea/vomiting 

  • Pink eye

  • Rash

  • Sore throat

  • Sprain or strain

  • Stitches (from minor cut)

  • Stomach pain (mild)

  • Urinary infection