Each new year, parents tell me stories of urgent holiday care for their kids. Examples have included how their toddler toppled over the Christmas tree (right into the piano), how their preteen slipped on an icy sidewalk outside the mall, or how their niece was singing “Let It Go” as Elsa and tumbled off their daughter’s bunk bed.
As a parent, I understand that many of the woes of childhood begin as “I have an idea” or a curious exploration of the world. While we don’t want to dampen that exuberance, it falls to us moms and dads to pick up the pieces when our children need urgent healthcare. But, finding pediatric care over the holiday season can lead to stress, lofty emergency room (ER) bills and last-minute changes in family plans.
First, it’s very important to understand what calls for a trip to the ER and what can be handled, usually at a lower cost, by a pediatric urgent care center. Here are a few instances where pediatricians will usually tell you to go right to the ER: broken bones requiring realignment, loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness, dehydration, gasping for air or hyperventilation, cuts that may call for sedation, fever in infants and seizures.
Next, I also want to offer up a few money- and headache-saving prevention tips:
1. Book your pediatrician now
A year-end checkup for respiratory ailments (especially if your child is asthmatic), earaches and scratchy throats is the best way to stay out of the ER for routine illnesses. Your pediatrician’s office can also answer your questions on their after hours care policies.
2. Refill prescriptions ahead of time
Whether flying, driving or entertaining in your home, reaching the bottom of a pill bottle can be frustrating when pharmacies are closed. Stock up to carry you through January, and ensure you have non-expired items like rescue inhalers and EpiPens® on hand.
3. Get your flu shots
Prevention is a worthy investment. Be sure you are current on your flu shots. We are well into the winter season, and no one wants to get or spread flu bugs. Many chain pharmacies are still running specials or offering store discounts.
Finally, I truly wish you a stress-free, ouch-free holiday season. May it be filled with more oohs and aahs than uh-ohs and whoas!