Getting your child to the emergency room is a harrowing experience. You’re panicking, your child is scared, there may be lots of blood, and there’s always a serious injury or illness. As desperately injured as your child might be, you still need to take a moment and collect yourself. Losing your head is likely to lead to carelessness and confusion that will ultimately make it harder to get your child the needed treatment. Slowing down long enough to think clearly can improve the outcome in the long run.
One of the most common mistakes made on the way to the emergency room is that you grab your child and run out the door with nothing more than car keys. This is a surefire way to run into endless procedural issues and a critical mass of minor problems once you arrive. You can save both time and trouble by remembering to bring the following items along.
- Identification: Valid photo identification for both yourself and the child is best, though often a child doesn’t have an ID. Proper identification will help the emergency team help you faster.
- Medical history: It’s always best to have this written down to prevent any confusion. This should include any serious past injuries or illnesses and pertinent conditions such as allergies and medications that the child takes on an ongoing basis. You may want to keep this information on your phone in a note-taking app.
- Poison container: If your child has ingested anything, bring the container along to the emergency room. This will give the emergency team essential information.
- Mobile phone: Although not necessary for the child’s treatment, you may need to contact others to ask them crucial questions about what exactly happened. Additionally, if you forget anything, you may need to coordinate a second vehicle coming to the emergency room to deliver whatever was left behind. You’ll also want to contact other family members to let them know what’s going on.
- Insurance cards: Bring your health insurance card or other information showing who your healthcare providers are.
- Money or credit card: If you’re staying at the hospital for a while, you may want to get something to eat or need pocket money for other incidentals.
When a child is hurt, your first and strongest instinct is to rush to the hospital. Take a moment for a deep breath and remember to bring along the items you’ll need to get them the best and fastest care possible.