Should I take my child to the doctor, the hospital, or urgent care?

Mother with concerned face comforting baby in arms

Spring is here. The sun is out, the days are longer, and there’s more time to play outside and enjoy the fresh air. However, as your child enjoys the springtime weather and all the adventures it brings, cuts, scrapes, falls, and even possible broken bones are more likely.

Many parents wonder how to handle these situations and whether they can be managed at home or require immediate medical attention. The good news is that most injuries can be handled right here in your pediatrician’s office. Avoiding the emergency room, even when it feels like an emergency, can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and longer wait times that come with the emergency room or urgent care.

When can my child be seen by a pediatrician?

Our office can see you for any of the following concerns:

(Note: this is not a comprehensive list)


  • Cough/Congestion
  • Sore Throat/Strep Throat
  • Influenza, Covid, RSV, Croup
  • Pink Eye/Eye Infection
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea (including concerns about dehydration, as we can do IVs in the office if appropriate)
  • Fever greater than 100.4 (unless in a baby less than 30 days, in which case you should go to the ER)
  • Urinary Tract Infections


  • Allergic Reaction (unless there is labored breathing)
  • Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease
  • Boils, Skin Infections, Open Sores


  • Sprains, Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Fracture (unless there is a protruding or deformed bone, in which case, go to the ER)
  • Laceration
  • Concussion (as long as no persistent vomiting, seizures, or altered mental status)
  • Superficial burns

Mental Health Issues:

  • Suicidal Thoughts or Self Harm (as long as the child is safe and is being constantly monitored until able to be seen in the office)
  • Ongoing management of ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, or other Behavioral Issues


  • Back Pain
  • Asthma
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Irregular Periods
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Self-Harm

On-Site X-rays for Quick Diagnosis

We understand the unique challenges that come with active, adventurous kids, which is why we have on-site X-rays. With our convenient on-site X-ray services, you can have peace of mind knowing that we can promptly diagnose and treat any possible broken bones or injuries.

In-House Mental Health Support

With in-house therapists, we have the ability to get children who are feeling suicidal or who are self-harming in quickly—typically within 48 hours or sooner. With our comprehensive care approach, your child’s pediatrician and therapist can collaborate and streamline the care needed in these emotional situations. If anyone feels unsafe or has had a suicide attempt, they should go to the ER.

Convenient Scheduling for Same-Day Appointment

Your time is precious, and we’re dedicated to making your child’s healthcare as convenient as possible! Call or text us at 801.254.9700, and we’ll get you in as soon as possible.

After Hour Help Available

Our South Jordan office is open until 8:00 p.m. on weeknights and 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. But after hours, our on-call nurse can help you determine the best course of action for various injuries/illnesses.

When should I take my child to the ER?

Go to the Emergency Room or call 911 if:

  • Protruding or deformed bone
  • Fever greater than 100.4 F in a baby <30 days of age
  • Seizure
  • Burns involving a large area of the body
  • Attempts of Self-Harm
  • Physical or Sexual Abuse
  • Lethargy (hard time waking up the baby or child)
  • Uncontrollable Bleeding
  • Swallowed batteries, magnets
  • Bluish or gray lips, tongue, or face, or other signs of difficulty breathing

If you’re still unsure if you need to take your child to the ER, call our nurses first at 801.254.9700. They can discuss the situation with you and provide you with the best plan of care.

Toby Cox, M.D., MPH

Toby Cox, M.D., MPH

Toby practices pediatrics in our West Jordan office.

a happy father receives a kiss from his son

Book an Appointment

Our specialists provide comprehensive care for your children, with medical, dental, mental health, and orthodontic services available under one roof.