Pediatrician’s Office vs Urgent Care Clinics: What’s Best for Your Child?



​Has specialized medical training in providing care exclusively to infants, children and adolescents

​Graduated from medical school and completed a 3-year residency program in pediatrics

​Pediatricians are typically “board-certified”, meaning they’ve passed rigorous exams given by the American Board of Pediatrics.

​Board certified pediatricians have to meet regular pediatric education requirements.

​Only see children, so they gain years of experience in recognizing and treating childhood illnesses.

If your child was born premature or has a chronic health condition that needs close monitoring, a pediatrician offers far more specialized care.

​Your pediatrician has become very familiar with your child, his or her medical history/needs and knows how to best diagnose and treat him or her.

Parents often feel more comfortable with their diagnosis and treatment plan.

*Only under certain circumstances will your pediatrician advise you to bring your child to an emergency room or urgent care.


​Urgent cares that are hospital-based, can treat certain medical issues that may not require a visit to the emergency room, but may mean higher out of pocket costs for you.


​Physicians and nurses at urgent cares may not have advanced training in pediatrics and may not be comfortable treating infants and young children.


​Retail-based clinics are often found inside supermarkets, pharmacies and retail superstores. Staff are usually trained in family practice with limited pediatric training. 


An Important Message from the AAP
(American Academy of Pediatrics) 

Recommendations for children
under 2 years old

Management of acute care for children under age 2 years old requires special pediatric expertise.

AAP does not recommend urgent care clinics without providers that have expertise caring for children younger than 2 years old.

Children under 2 years old with an acute illness, often have variable clinical presentations, may have symptoms difficult to assess and could demonstrate unpredictable responses to treatment, all of which, urgent cares may not be able to handle.