Should I take my child to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

If experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

The differences between urgent care and the emergency room can be confusing. So we’ve put together this guide to make sure your child gets the right care at the right time.* 

Emergency Room

The emergency room is for any medical condition or injury that threatens life or limb. It’s the best option when immediate medical attention is needed. 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns
  • Severe skin infections
  • Sudden visual changes
  • High fever with headache
  • Fast heartbeat that doesn’t slow down
  • Severe dehydration
  • Persistent dizziness 

The Emergency Dept. at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital is located at 317 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Tacoma, WA 98405. 

Urgent Care

Urgent Care is for illnesses or injuries that are not immediately life-threatening but need to be treated today. 

  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Earaches
  • Minor burns and bruises
  • Simple wounds or abrasions
  • Sore throats
  • Wheezing
  • Coughs
  • Fevers
  • Minor head injuries
  • Sprains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild dehydration
  • COVID-19 symptomatic testing
  • Pediatric Virtual Care 

For the Mary Bridge Pediatric Urgent Care nearest you, and for Virtual Care options, visit

General Pediatrics - Primary Care

For non-emergent care, connect with a primary care pediatrician. We offer well-child visits, care for common childhood illness and much more for children from birth through age 18. 

*When possible, contact your child’s primary care provider to discuss acute care options.