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Child Care Policies May Increase Urgent Care Visits

6/23/2014 For Release: June 23, 2014
​​​​​​​​Working parents or parents enrolled in school may resort to emergency departments or urgent care center visits in order to get children back into child care, according to a study in the July 2014 Pediatrics. The study, “Emergency Department and Urgent Care for Children Excluded From Child Care” published online June 23, assessed the impact that a child’s illness might have on parents’ need for urgent medical care evaluations. The authors found that some parents were more likely to use an urgent care center or emergency department if their child is excluded from child care, including single parents, African-American parents, and parents who are concerned about job loss or loss of job income. These parents may view the situation as a socioeconomic emergency and therefore choose urgent care over the inability to return to work in a timely manner. Child care policies may increase use of emergency/urgent care as well. Many child care settings require a health care visit before a child may return, which is in direct conflict with the national child care recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The study authors conclude that adoption of the national AAP child care recommendations by states and better training of child providers and parents may reduce the unnecessary exclusion of children from child care, thereby reducing unnecessary visits to emergency department and/or urgent care centers.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit

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