Boo Boos And Owies: When You Should Take Your Little One To Urgent Care

For many parents, especially first-time moms and dads, knowing when to take a child to the urgent care clinic can be a difficult decision. Kids who get scrapes and bruises don't always need to be seen, but in some cases, a visit to the walk-in clinic is a smart choice. Here are some things to look for if your child has a small injury that might need more serious treatment.

Bruises That Don't Go Away

Everyday play at school or at the park can result in bruises, particularly on the legs, knees, and elbows. These bruises may go away after a few days, but persistent bruising may require a bit of extra care. If your child's bruises don't seem to be fading with time, or if you notice swelling and extreme tenderness in the area, you might want to consider a drip to the clinic. There may be a sprain or hairline fracture at the root of the problem. If your child seems to be in constant pain from the bruise, or if the pain gets increasingly intense, this might also be a reason to visit the urgent care center. 

Scrapes And Cuts

Minor scrapes and cuts can be treated at home with antibiotic ointment and bandages, but you'll want to examine the cuts thoroughly before adding a self-adhesive bandage to the area. If the cut seems abnormally deep, stitches may be required. Fortunately, some cuts can be closed with a form of adhesive glue instead of the more invasive traditional stitch. Cuts that don't stop bleeding should be tended to immediately. In the event of severe blood loss, you should call 9-1-1 and seek treatment at the local emergency room.

Bumps On The Head

Having your child bump his or her head can be a stressful injury for parents. You may be concerned about a concussion or other types of internal injury, but there are some signs to look for that can help you determine if a trip to the urgent care center is required. These symptoms may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred speech
  • Difficulty talking or understanding others
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

If you witnessed the bump and it seems severe, you may not want to wait until these symptoms appear. However, if the bump was relatively light, it's still a good idea to monitor your child for the rest of the day. You can apply ice to help minimize swelling and bruising in the meantime.

If you are unsure about whether or not to take your child to urgent care after a minor injury, don't hesitate to call first. In some cases, the facility will be able to help you determine if you need a regular pediatrician's appointment, a trip to the emergency room, or a visit to the walk-in clinic