I'll never forget the first time we took our daughter to the ER. I was terrified and completely unprepared. We'd received a call from her preschool saying that she'd fallen and hurt her arm, and the teachers advised us to take her to the ER immediately. As my husband and I drove to pick her up in silent terror, a million things ran through my head: Did she break her arm? Would she need stitches? How long would this ER visit last? Were we ready? Had I remembered our insurance card?
Fortunately, we discovered it was a simple case of nursemaid's elbow (a common condition in toddlers and preschoolers when the radius bone in the forearm slips out of place from the elbow joint), and were relieved to leave the hospital in just under an hour. We spent the bulk of our stay answering a variety of questions, many of which I found myself at a loss to answer. I vowed to be better prepared, should we ever need to make a return visit.
Many parents find themselves at a loss when faced with an ER visit. Where to go, what to bring, and so on often aren't considered until the last minute—when time is crucial. To save yourself added stress in an inherently unnerving situation, take a couple minutes to plan ahead. Here's an easy guide to get you started.
Where to Go
Do you know where your nearest ER or urgent care facility is? Make a note of where the facility is, how to get there, approximately how long the trip takes, and where you'll be able to park.
Be sure to also ask your pediatrician if she is affiliated with a local hospital and/or ER. She may be able to suggest the best place for you to go if faced with an emergency. If there is more than one ER available, ask your pediatrician which one is best prepared for pediatric emergencies, with trained pediatric emergency medicine specialists.