In a Medical Emergency, Here’s Why You Should Choose a Pediatric ER for your Child

We are thankful to be partnering with Children’s Memorial Hermann to bring you this sponsored content. While we hope your family never needs emergency medical care, we can't stress the importance of being educated and proactive if that time ever does come.

As a parent, I want little more than to keep my children safe and healthy. The list of precautions and preventative measures I take is extensive. I baby-proof my home, diligently research safety ratings on car seats, faithfully take my little ones to their well-checks at the pediatrician, and on and on. But despite my best efforts, medical emergencies happen and are sometimes unavoidable. They happen every day to children of excellent parents.

I’ve been a parent for six years, and all three of my children have required visits to the emergency room. My four year old had a febrile seizure when she was eighteen months old, and when she was two, she fell off a chair and busted her chin just badly enough to need stitches. My one year old recently earned himself his first ER visit due to respiratory distress caused by a viral infection. And then there’s my six year old, who has a form of Mitochondrial Disease and is considered medically fragile. I lost count a long time ago how many times we’ve rushed him to the emergency room. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on navigating both the ER and hospital admissions, and I say without hesitation that it matters which ER and hospital you choose when your child is in an emergency situation.

When one of my children has a medical emergency, I have a list of criteria for where he will be treated. I insist that…

  • The personnel caring for him specialize in pediatrics.
  • The emergency room has equipment and supplies that are made specifically for children.
  • The nurses and doctors have been trained on how to talk and relate to the littlest of patients who are scared and hurting.
  • My child and family have access to Child Life specialists whose job is to decrease the stress caused by the hospital setting.

My family is loyal to the Memorial Hermann Health System in our city, and the only emergency room we take our children to is Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, or one of the three other Children’s Memorial Hermann emergency rooms serving the Houston area. All four of the pediatric emergency rooms are staffed with pediatric-trained nurses, pediatricians and ER physicians and all of these emergency rooms have convenient online check-in capabilities. The location of these Children’s Memorial Hermann ERs are:

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center {a Level 1 pediatric trauma center}
Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital {the only dedicated children’s emergency room in Fort Bend County}
Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center
Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital

All four of these pediatric emergency rooms are located in the same buildings as the Memorial Hermann adult ERs, so if needed, the entire family can be treated in one location.  If tragedy or an accident ever struck multiple members of my family, I cannot image trying to navigate my way between multiple hospitals in a time of crisis.  Likewise, the immediate transfer ability via the Children’s Transport Team at Children’s Memorial Hermann or Memorial Hermann Life Flight® team is yet another tremendous service that is invaluable during a family’s most desperate times of need. Life Flight® is the only hospital-based air ambulance service that covers a 150-mile radius across Greater Houston to transport critically ill patients of all ages, including neonates, children, adults, and the elderly.

Not all medical situations require a visit to the emergency room. Fortunately, Memorial Hermann Urgent Care locations and the Q.care app*, an at-home pediatric urgent care solution, are available for health needs that are not life-threatening or for those times when a child’s pediatrician’s office is closed. 

It can be difficult for a parent to know when to choose between an ER or urgent care but in general, if the illness or injury is something I would take my child to the pediatrician for OR I feel like I have time to make a phone call to a nurse call line, I opt for an urgent care. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that emergency rooms and urgent care clinics have different hours of availability; emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

As a parent of a child who needs emergency room services more frequently than most, I feel so fortunate to live in Houston, a city with world class medical providers and facilities. Although an emergency room visit is never pleasant, the Children’s Memorial Hermann emergency room staff have always been professional, kind, compassionate, and efficient. It is obvious they are dedicated not only to providing the best medical care available, but also to ensuring the whole experience is the least traumatic as possible.

*Q.care home visits are currently only available in The Woodlands community with plans to expand later this year. The FREE Nurse Call Line, part of the Q.care app, is available to parents and caregivers across the Greater Houston Area. 

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