Emergency Room, Urgent Care or Video Visit? When Your Child Needs Care, Here’s Where to Go

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

Here’s a list to break it down.

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.

Note: Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department has completely separate entrances, zones and rooms to ensure zero contact between patients who are suspected of COVID-19 and those who aren’t. Learn more about our COVID-19 precautions.

  • 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 with arm in sling

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 & Women’s After-Hours Care in Farmington, a partnership between Connecticut Children’s and Women’s Health 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.”

> Related: Urgent Care Is Here! After-Hours Care From the Experts You and Your Pediatrician Trust

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 you’d like to connect with one of Connecticut Children’s pediatric experts from the comfort of home, call our Division of Primary Care to ask about a Video Visit.

  • Allergies
  • Burn – minor
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Congestion, runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • COVID-19 symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye infections, pink eye
  • Fever
  • Head injury – minor (without loss of consciousness)
  • Rash
  • Sprain or strain
  • Vomiting

> Related: Video Visits Are Here! 5 Reasons to Schedule One Today

No matter where you bring your child, we’ll keep them (and you!) safe from COVID-19.

Connecticut Children’s works around the clock to keep kids safe and sound from COVID-19 – and give parents peace of mind. Learn about our safety program.

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