For many kids, summer is the best time of the year. Warm weather means family vacations, picnics, and spending plenty of time outside. But summer is also one of the riskiest times of the year for kids. More children are injured during the summer than any other time of year. And while it?s important to watch kids closely and teach them good safety skills, some summertime injuries like bumps, bruises, and scrapes are all but inevitable for active kids who love the outdoors.
If your child is injured, you might immediately think of taking them to the emergency room. While severe injuries definitely do warrant an ER visit, often a visit to an urgent care center is a quicker, more appropriate, and more cost-effective solution for minor injuries. Urgent care for kids is becoming an often-utilized alternative to the emergency room, and there are currently about 9,300 urgent care centers operating across the United States. Some walk-in urgent care clinics provide emergency services as well, so you don?t have to choose between the two.
Urgent care for kids provides several benefits over emergency care. Visiting an urgent care center provides skillful, convenient, and affordable care for your child without the long waits and expense of a trip to the emergency room. In a private study, Milliman, an actuarial company, found that many ER visits are simply unnecessary ? between 44% and 65% of visits to the emergency room could have been handled at an urgent care center instead. Visiting an urgent care center can save you a significant amount of money, too. On average, a patient at an urgent care center can expect to pay about $103 for a visit, while the same treatment at an emergency room would cost about $302. Wait time is also a big factor in why many people prefer visiting urgent care. At more than half of all urgent care centers, patients spend under 15 minutes in the waiting room. That doesn’t translate into less professional service, though — a physician is on duty at all times at 65% of urgent care clinics.
When should you take your child to an urgent care center instead of the emergency room? In general, you should always play it safe ? if your child has any kind of emergency that requires immediate care, don?t hesitate to go to the ER. But for less serious injuries that require care but aren?t immediately dangerous, such as skin rashes, sprains, strains, or cuts that aren?t bleeding profusely, an urgent care center is probably the way to go. Urgent care for kids is a quick, affordable, and convenient way to treat summertime bumps and bruises — the vast majority of urgent care clinics are open seven days a week for at least four hours every day. To take the guesswork out of choosing between urgent care and the emergency room, visit a center that’s staffed by emergency-trained doctors, so your child can have ER care without the wait.
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