Pediatricians Guide to Urgent Care & Emergency Rooms

There are so many ways to get care for your child these days.  There is your friendly pediatrician’s office (like us, at Potomac Pediatrics!), Urgent Care, Emergency Rooms, telehealth lines, and seemingly more and more options every day. With so many different places, it can be overwhelming! How do you know who to call or where to go for different problems that come up throughout the day or night?
First, emergency rooms are for emergencies. If your child is having a life-threatening emergency like seizures, severe trouble breathing, a major trauma or bleeding, signs of a serious allergic reaction, if your child is not waking up, or anything else that you are worried could risk their life or limb call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room right away!
Beyond those emergencies, Potomac Pediatrics is your child’s medical home.  We hope that we are the first call you make when you need anything for your child!  While we aren’t open 24 hours a day and can’t do everything in the office, you may be surprised to find out a few things we do offer. Here’s what you should know about Potomac Pediatrics:

  • Did you know you can receive medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year?! When you call (301) 279-6750 you can select the option to speak with an advice nurse. From 7 AM to 9 PM, you will be speaking directly with one of our staff nurses and/or doctors. For the overnight hours, you will be speaking with a nurse through a company called Alicare. All nurses will be using the same protocols as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We will help you make that tough decision about whether your child needs to be seen immediately or if it’s safe to wait until tomorrow morning. If it is safe to wait, we will help you get your child feeling better and back to sleep
  • Care should be tailored towards your individual child’s needs.  Our doctors and nurses at Potomac Peds know (and love) your child and have all their medical history at our fingertips. This relationship helps us make the best treatment decisions for your child.  We would much rather see you here than have you seen by a doctor somewhere else without this information.
  • We have a staff of nurses and doctors that are specifically trained in Pediatrics. This is not the case with many urgent cares, telehealth lines, or emergency rooms.  Kids are not just little adults and we are specialists in those kid-specific-problems.
  • We can help with many of your URGENT needs.  While we can’t do everything in the office, we do have excellent relationships with many specialists in the area.  So, if we can’t fix it ourselves, we will help find someone that can… and usually that same day.  If you are worried about a broken bone, sprained ankle, concussion, small lacerations, new rash, or many other things – give us a call first and we will help!

There is a place and a time for urgent care centers but let us help you make those tough decisions on who to call, where to go, and when you need to be seen.  We are just a phone call away and can always be reached at (301) 279-6750!
-Doctors at Potomac Pediatrics