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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

September 07, 2020, Arti Thigarajan, MD
Why Choose a Pediatric Urgent Care Over a General Urgent Care?

For both adults and children Urgent Cares are a rapidly growing means of receiving efficient, quick treatment. Many centers are popping up throughout the country with more than 500 urgent care facilities in the state of Arizona alone. Due to this rapidly growing treatment method, families are presented with an additional challenge: How do we choose between bringing our child to an urgent care that treats adults or a pediatric-specific facility?

Pediatric urgent care facilities cater to the specific needs of children, and they treat ailments like minor accidents or falls, allergic reactions, asthma attacks, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, broken bones, URIs, sore throats, burns and earaches, to name a few. Pediatric Urgent Care Centers are generally available after outpatient pediatric practice hours and during weekends. Many are associated with nearby children’s hospitals (like those at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.)

Pediatric urgent cares are staffed with pediatric specialists. This includes pediatricians, pediatric emergency department doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who have significant pediatric experience. On the other hand, in a general urgent care setting, facilities are rarely staffed with pediatric specialists. This is an important distinction, as children are not “small adults”. Kids have a different physiology and therefore require different treatment plans than adults.

Many general urgent care providers may not be comfortable treating pediatric cases, and the result may be unnecessary costly trips to the emergency department. Also in a pediatric urgent care setting, there are several resources to refer higher acuity or more complex patients to pediatric specialists in the area.  This is especially true at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where urgent care providers have access to the hospital’s subspecialists at all times for consultations or advice.

If your child needs medical care after hours and your pediatrician’s office is not available, a pediatric urgent care is an excellent way to get care quickly and efficiently from trained pediatric providers and specialists.

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