When to Visit the Emergency Room


U-M Health primary care patients: Your primary care clinic can help you determine the best way to receive care for non-emergencies, even on evenings and weekends. If you experience new or worsening symptoms, call your clinic and the 24/7 nurse triage line is available to assist you.

If your child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, seek immediate care.

As your child’s health provider, we want to be involved as much as possible in your child’s health.   During office hours, we ask that you call us first before seeking care in all but life threatening emergencies.  Keep in mind that treatment in an emergency department can cost several times more than the same care our in office and potentially expose your child to other infectious illnesses.  Our staff will do their best to accommodate same day appointments for urgent illnesses and injuries.

If your child has an illness or injury that occurs after hours and needs after hour care, please call our office to have the doctor or nurse on call paged to discuss your child’s symptoms.  The majority of the time, your child’s illness or injury can be managed at home. 

Occasionally there may be situations where it is necessary to get immediate care for your child.  For information on when to seek immediate care and when to call and discuss your child with an on call doctor or nurse, please see "What to do When Your Child is Sick or Hurt".

Pediatric Urgent Care Graphic

Situations needing immediate care

A life threatening emergency is a situation where your child could die or become permanently disabled. 

Call 911 for the following situations:

  • Choking
  • Child is not breathing or has turned blue
  • Head injury and your child is unconscious
  • Injury to neck or spine
  • Seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes
  • Bleeding that can’t be stopped 
  • Severe difficulty breathing

Go to an emergency department for the following situations:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing or fainting
  • Fevers with headache and stiff neck
  • Fever in a child under the age of 2 months
  • Suddenly hard to wake up or confused
  • Suddenly not able to speak, see, or move normally
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Deep wound
  • Severe burn
  • Coughing or throwing up blood
  • A bone injury with loss of movement, especially if the bone is pushing through the skin
  • Your child is dehydrated with a dry mouth, is not crying tears, has not urinated in over 8 hours, or is acting very out of it.