Soirée Kids: Should We Go to the Emergency Department or After-Hours Clinic?

Joe Elser, M.D.
Medical Director of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital After-Hours Clinic

Q: What is an after-hours clinic?

JE: An after-hours clinic is primary care that is typically open on weekends and/or evenings. The Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) After-Hours Clinic treats minor, non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses that need immediate attention. Our physicians and nurses are available seven days a week. The clinic will see patients from our partner clinics.

Q: What kinds of symptoms does an after-hours clinic treat?

JE: There are several illnesses and symptoms treated in an after-hours clinic. Some include fever, congestion or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, ear infections, minor burns, cold and flu symptoms, pink eye and skin rashes. Sprains or minor sports injuries can also be treated.

What does an emergency department offer?

JE: A child needs emergency care when a life-threatening illness, injury or symptom occurs. The ACH Emergency Department, open 24 hours a day, is a Level I trauma center staffed by pediatricians and pediatric medicine residents certified in pediatric emergency medicine to treat all pediatric emergencies.

Q: What kinds of symptoms does an emergency department treat?

JE: Some life-threatening symptoms commonly treated in an ED include sudden or intense weakness, dizziness, numbness, vision changes or pain, difficulty speaking, major head trauma or injury, lacerations, seizures, shortness of breath, losing consciousness, broken bones, overdose, severe vomiting with belly pain or dehydration, bleeding, allergic reactions and suicidal feelings.

Whether your child needs after-hours or emergency care, Arkansas Children’s is here for your family. Learn more at

1 Children’s Way
Little Rock, AR 72202

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