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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.

Emergency Room

The Emergency Room can help with serious or severe illnesses and injuries. If your child's condition is life-threatening, call 911.

  • 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

Urgent Care

Urgent Care centers are a great option for minor illnesses and injuries. Children's Mercy urgent care providers care for children with conditions like:

  • 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