The Emergency Room Guide: How to Prepare Before You Go
Whether it's simply because your pediatric office is closed, or a medical emergency, visiting the ER with a little one is far from easy. Find out what you can do to prepare you and your child.
What to Take
Knowing answers to the following questions can help you prepare for an emergency room visit:
- Are your child’s immunizations current?
Keep your child’s vaccination records in an easy-to-find place, such as where you keep your car keys (for example, a desk or kitchen filing cabinet). This way you can grab your little one’s medical records when rushing out the door.
- Does your child have allergies?
Keep a list of antibiotics, medications, or foods that your child is allergic to.
- Does your child take vitamins or medications?
Whether it’s a dose of cold medicine you administered last night or a bit of Benadryl cream you applied early in the day, be sure to write down anything that your child has taken recently before visiting the ER.
- Does your child have a pre-existing condition?
You’ll need to provide information to your ER doctor about persistent allergies, asthma, or other chronic conditions.
- What is your child’s blood type?
In dire emergencies, this is crucial information. An easy solution is to keep a note of your child’s blood type with his immunization records.
- What’s your child’s health insurance information?
Keep your child’s insurance card in your purse at all times and include an extra photocopy with this collection of important information.
- Who is your child’s pediatrician?
Write down the name of your child’s primary care doctor and how long she’s been seeing this doctor (and include previous physicians, if applicable). Be sure to include the doctor’s office contact information. If your child sees any specialists (an allergist, a dermatologist, etc.) write their contact information written down too.
A good way to keep the above information handy is to put each point of information on an index card, punch a hole in the upper corner of each card, and string the cards together. Keep the booklet wherever you store your car keys or in your purse or diaper bag.
While You’re There
Chances are you’ll be at the ER awhile (a couple hours on average). If you have time, grab the following to help your wait go more smoothly:
- a diaper bag
- a couple of books or toys
- something for your child to drink
- a special comfort item (such as a blanket, stuffed animal, or favorite bedtime story)
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