Pediatric Urgent Care vs. Pediatric Emergency Center

Dr. Stan Spinner.

Expert: Dr. Stan Spinner, Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer

Oftentimes, families turn to an emergency center after hours, on weekends or perhaps even during the day, when a significant event occurs with their child. Though the emergency center is the right place for some incidents or ailments, the majority of the time, minor illnesses can and should be treated at a pediatric urgent care facility.

Texas Children’s Urgent Care has eight convenient locations that offer high-quality, efficient and affordable patient care during evenings and weekends, in convenient, community locations.

Q: My six-week-old daughter has a fever. Should I take her to the closest emergency center?

If your child is younger than eight weeks and has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, you should take the child to a pediatric emergency center immediately. If your child is older than eight weeks and has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, you should contact the child’s pediatrician or seek care at an urgent care clinic.

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus is Houston’s first community hospital designed, built and equipped exclusively for children. Our dedicated pediatric emergency center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed with board certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians.

Q: What other conditions should be treated at a pediatric emergency center?

Conditions that are life or limb-threatening should be treated at a pediatric emergency center. The emergency center at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus is available to treat pediatric patients with illnesses and injuries requiring immediate attention. The emergency center can also provide initial stabilization for severely injured pediatric patients.

Other conditions that should be treated at a pediatric emergency center include:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Extensive or complicated cuts or lacerations
  • Fainting or head injury with loss of consciousness or disorientation
  • Loss or change of vision
  • Major fracture that breaks the skin or is at a severe angle
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis or epilepsy
  • Serious burns
  • Snake bites
  • Spinal injuries
  • Sudden change in mental state
  • Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood

Q: What conditions should be treated at a pediatric urgent care clinic?

Conditions that require immediate care but are not life- threatening should be treated at a pediatric urgent care clinic. Texas Children’s Urgent Care is equipped to treat the following conditions:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Mild asthma
  • Cough
  • Croup
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Minor burns
  • Minor injuries from falls or sports

Q: How late is Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinic open during the week?

Texas Children’s Urgent Care is open Monday through Friday, 4:30 to 11 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 8 pm. Clinics are staffed by board certified pediatricians who have privileges at Texas Children’s Hospital.

For more information about the emergency center at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, visit westcampus.texaschildrens.org. For more information about Texas Children’s Urgent Care, visit urgentcare.texaschildrens.org.