It’s stressful enough when you or your child is sick or injured. It’s even more stressful if you’re not sure where to go – the emergency room, urgent care center or your doctor.

Here’s a list to break it down.

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Go to the Emergency Department right away for anything that could be life-threatening.

You should immediately bring your child to an emergency room (or call 9-1-1) for any of the following.

  • Allergic reaction – severe
  • Asthma – severe
  • Bone break – angulated or sticking out of skin
  • Blood in urine
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Burn – major
  • Chest pain – severe
  • Constipation – requiring cleanout
  • COVID-19 symptoms – with any distress
  • Cut or wound – deep, with bleeding that won’t stop or involves deeper tissues
  • Dental injuries
  • Eye injuries, vision change, concern for infection within the eye socket (“orbital cellulitis”) – major
  • Fever in infant younger than 2 months or immunosuppressed/immunocompromised patient
  • Head injury – loss of consciousness or altered mental state (confusion, memory loss, unusual behavior)
  • High blood pressure, aka hypertension
  • Mental state change (confusion, memory loss, unusual behavior) without injury
  • Nailbed injuries
  • Neck or spine injury
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain – severe
  • Possible poisoning
  • Seizure
  • Stomach pain – severe
  • Swallowed an object
  • Unconscious or not responsive
  • *Plus lots of other care

> Related: How to Pack a Go-Bag for Your Child’s Unexpected ED Visits

Go to urgent care or your pediatrician for issues that require care within 24 hours, but are not life-threatening.

Girl in a full arm cast

If your pediatrician’s office is open, start by calling them! For after-hours support, visit a pediatric urgent care clinic like Pediatric Urgent Care in Farmington, Connecticut.

  • Allergies
  • Asthma – mild
  • Bone fractures and dislocations – minor
  • Burn – minor
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Congestion, runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • Cuts – minor
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections, earaches
  • Eye infections, pink eye, corneal scratches – minor
  • Fever (except infants younger than 2 months)
  • Head aches
  • Head injury – minor, without loss of consciousness
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sprain or strain
  • Stomach pain – mild
  • Vomiting

Headed to Connecticut Children’s Urgent Care center? You can reserve your place in line before you even leave the house – just click “Save My Spot.For some conditions, you can even request a Video Visit!

For some medical conditions, Video Visits are an option too.

If your child is experiencing any of the following, their pediatrician may be able to evaluate them via telehealth. If it’s after hours, you can request a Video Visit with Connecticut Children’s pediatric urgent care experts.

  • Allergies
  • Burn – minor
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye infections, pink eye
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Rashes, minor skin infections
  • Scrapes
  • Sprain or strain
  • Sunburn
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • What happens if your child needs follow-up care?

If you come to Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department or Pediatric Urgent Care, your child is instantly connected to more than 30 pediatric specialties. We’re also a trusted partner for pediatric practices, so we’ll work closely with your child’s regular doctor to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

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