Emergency vs. Walk-In Care: When to Go Where?

ACMB is excited to partner with University Health System to share this sponsored post on emergency and walk-in care. When your child is sick or injured, you want the right care and you want it quickly, University Children’s Health gives you options: PediExpress and the Children’s Emergency Department at University Hospital.

“Mom, I’m hot. I don’t feel good.”

“Mom! I fell off my bike. I think something is broken!”

The daily surprises that come with parenthood seem all too familiar: a child coming home with the latest thing going around school, tummy aches that just won’t go away, sleepless nights caring for a child with a fever, a scrape on the arm that might be more than a boo-boo, a child who is unable to catch their breath. We don’t like it when our little ones might be sick or injured because when they hurt, we hurt. And we want to ease that hurt as soon as possible.

In San Antonio there are many options for care, so it is important to know when to go where to get the best treatment for your child. As the person who knows your child best, you are on the front line of response to listen, take temperatures, assess the damage, and basically have the first look to figure out the best way to remedy an ailment. Sometimes, the best option is to wait and see. A low fever or slight bump to the head might best be cured by the “three i’s”: ice, ibuprofen, and ice cream. However, there are days when it’s a little more serious than that. The stress of deciding if the hurt could go away with a kiss and a home remedy or if the hurt is serious enough to seek medical attention, can make even the most experienced parent unsure of what to do. 

Know When to Go Where!

Walk-in/Urgent Care

Walk-in/urgent care facilities typically provide primary care/well child checkups, immunizations, acute care, physicals, labs, X-rays, and short wait times. You can walk in without an appointment or make a same-day appointment. That’s a great thing for a busy, worried parent.

Scenario: When your child doesn’t feel well, it’s not unusual to see a combo deal—for instance, fever and vomiting. Most of the time it’s “just a bug” that is best treated with fluids and rest. But maybe this time it seems different, setting off that internal mom alarm. Consider it a good time to bring them to an urgent care with certified pediatricians. Tests can determine whether your child has an infection and can be prescribed the right antibiotics to feel much better.

Here are a few other conditions that can be treated at an urgent care clinic:

  • Asthma and allergies
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Fever and headaches
  • Sprains
  • Cold and flu
  • Earaches
  • Minor cuts and burns
  • Rashes
  • Stomach aches


Sometimes you may have a situation that requires a little more attention and immediate care for seriously ill or injured kids. The best option would be an emergency room (ER) with around-the-clock care. When it comes to your kid, though, you don’t want to just go anywhere. You’ll want to choose a dedicated children’s ER with board-certified emergency medicine and pediatric specialists so you can rest assured your little one is being treated by a team of experts who are trained in children’s emergencies. Now it goes without saying, the emergency room can be a scary place—even more so for a young patient—so bonus points for going to a place with a kid-friendly environment.

Scenario: Your child may have a stomach ache that doesn’t seem to be getting better. Initially the pain is just an annoyance, but then your child wakes up and the pain is worse and lower in the abdomen. If you take him to a pediatric emergency room that is part of a Level 1 Trauma Center, doctors can quickly find out whether your child has appendicitis. If he does, they can act fast to bring in experienced surgeons and have him back home eating ice cream by the end of the week.

Here are some minor to complex injuries and illnesses that can be treated with an ER visit:

  • Fractures
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Injuries or burns*
  • Infant less than two months old with fever above 100.4°
  • Poison ingestion
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden weakness or paralysis
  • Unconsciousness

*For severe injuries or burns, call 911.

This information is for general educational purposes. It is not intended to take the place of examination, treatment, or consultation with a physician.

We all hope to protect our children as best as possible. We hope they won’t ever experience pain or illness. But if they do, we hope the healing is quick. In this technology era, there are so many sources available to self-diagnose and DIY. Although it may not always be clear when to use a home remedy or seek medical attention, your instincts should guide you on where to go to save the day.

Want a reminder when to go where? Download a free Know Where to Go guide today!

University Health System PediExpress offers walk-in visits with a board-certified doctor or an advanced-practice provider. It’s generally half the cost of an ER visit. Learn more here.

The New Children’s ER at University Hospital provides immediate care for even the most seriously ill kids, around the clock. Board-certified emergency medicine and pediatric specialists and a team trained in children’s emergencies, offer expert care in a kid-friendly environment. Learn more here.

One Response to Emergency vs. Walk-In Care: When to Go Where?

  1. Jing October 25, 2017 at 3:01 am #

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