Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

When your child needs health care, Everything Matters®. These guidelines can help you better understand when to seek appropriate care.

If you think your child has a medical emergency or life-threatening condition, always call 911. If you think someone is poisoned, call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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Your Family’s Health and Safety Are Our Top Priority

When so many aspects of our daily lives are uncertain right now, it’s nice to know that care for your kids is as certain as ever. Click here to review safety measures at our locations, including visitor guidelines and masking policies.

Primary Care Physician/Pediatrician

Nationwide Children’s supports community pediatricians and family practice physicians as a child’s primary medical home.

  • We recommend calling your child’s pediatrician or family doctor before seeking care in an emergency department or urgent care center unless your child’s physician is unavailable or your child is experiencing a medical emergency.
  • Primary care with your child’s primary care physician will always be the least expensive option, and your pediatrician or family physician knows your child best. Emergency room care, which is the most expensive option, should only be used if you think your child has a medical emergency.

Need help finding a primary care provider? Our 24-hour referral service is available at (614) 722-KIDS (5437) or via chat.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent Cares offer treatment for illnesses and injuries that need immediate attention, but do not need to be seen in the Emergency Department. Treatment for the following conditions is provided at a Nationwide Children’s Urgent Care Center:

  • Allergic reactions (rash)
  • Asthma/difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Minor/small burns
  • Minor/small cuts, including those needing stiches
  • Pain with urination
  • Rashes
  • Small broken bones
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Nationwide Children’s Urgent Care facilities work with the Emergency Departments to ensure each child receives the best care in the appropriate location.

Nationwide Children's Urgent Care Centers
Find an Urgent Care Location Near You

Emergency Room

Treatment for the following conditions is provided at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Main Campus Emergency Department and the Lewis Center Emergency Department:

  • Allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock)
  • Asthma/difficulty breathing/respiratory distress
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Dehydration
  • Fever (especially in infants eight weeks of age or younger)
  • Seizure
  • Severe pain

The Lewis Center Emergency Department is staffed and prepared to treat and stabilize any emergency situation. However, if the patient is stable, in the following situations it would be best to be seen at the Nationwide Children’s Main Campus Emergency Department where specialists and inpatient resources are more readily available: patients who will most likely need admission to the hospital; major trauma/injuries; injuries following a motor vehicle accident, being struck by a vehicle or fall from a height; concerns for illness or injury from abuse or assault. If your child is in a psychiatric emergency, please call your county psychiatric crisis line or current behavioral health care provider for help in determining what response is best. Call 911 if you are concerned about your child’s immediate safety.

Nationwide Children's Emergency Care
View Emergency Room Locations, Maps & Directions

Psychiatric Crisis Department at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion

Call 911 if you are concerned about your child’s immediate safety.

The Psychiatric Crisis Department treats children and adolescents for mental and behavioral health crises. Featuring 24/7 psychiatric crisis care, it’s like an emergency room, but for children experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis.

When to go to the Psychiatric Crisis Department:

  • For urgent mental/behavioral health concerns that need to be addressed immediately without medical concerns

When to go to the Emergency Department:

  • Injuries
  • Swallowed something/overdosed
  • Bleeding
  • Unconsciousness (passed out)
  • Breathing difficulties

If you need to talk to a mental health provider, call the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Franklin County Youth Psychiatric Crisis Line at (614) 722-1800. 

Psychiatric Crisis Department at Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion
Learn More About Services & When To Go