Children are not mini-adults.
Most urgent care clinics are staffed with emergency room doctors, which typically meets all your needs–IF you are a grown-up. Even at the ER, your children should be seen by pediatric specialists – either pediatricians or pediatric nurse practitioners. After all, there’s a reason most general practitioners don’t want to treat children….they aren’t mini adults. Infants, children and adolescents have unique physical characteristics that require special training, care and equipment. Only urgent care centers that specialize in children have offices set up to meet those specific needs.
Not all urgent care centers are created equal.
With general urgent care locations popping up on every street corner, not to mention retail centers like Walgreens, Target and Walmart, it’s easy to think that each one provides the same kinds of services. But one size doesn’t fit all and pediatric care is a specialty for that reason. The American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged parents from using retail centers for the primary care of their children because of the approach that is used in general (i.e. adult) urgent care offices.
Consistency of care is important.
Children need to be seen regularly by a home pediatrician and their records need to be complete and comprehensive. However, sometimes an illness or minor injury doesn’t occur during office hours. That’s why a good pediatric urgent care will make sure that every visit is communicated with the home pediatrician to facilitate follow-up care as well as reinforce the need for a pediatric medical home. The same can’t be said for general urgent care centers, since the vast majority of their patients are adults and they aren’t set up to communicate with other medical offices regularly. This lack of communication between an adult urgent care and the home doctor, especially with children, can fragment your child’s overall medical care.
A pediatric urgent care will make sure the medical needs are addressed in a setting that makes the child and caregiver feel comfortable during stressful situations, including child friendly waiting rooms, popsicles for sore throats and a sticker on the way out the door. Being sick or injured isn’t fun for anyone, but a pediatric urgent care will make sure your child gets the care they deserve from medical professionals that are trained to take care of their unique needs