Your Child’s ER Checklist

Nothing can be more terrifying than taking your child to the ER.  Here are recommendations from the American College of Emergency Physicians.  Click here for an easy print-out form of Your-ER-Checklists

Above all else, PLEASE print and fill out the Medical History Form (for you and each family member) and the Consent to Treat Forms

  • Know the warning signs of childhood emergencies.
  • Post emergency numbers on all your telephones, and make sure your children know how to call for help. Children should be able to call 911 (or local emergency number) and give his or her name, address and a brief description of the emergency.
  • Organize your family’s medical information. Complete medical history forms on each family member and keep up-to- date copies in your home, car, first aid kits and wallet. Take the forms you need when you go the ER. Seniors should consider keeping this information in their refrigerators — many emergency medical services staff will know to look for this information there. This may also include past hospital records.
    • Click here to download a Medical History Form to fill out, making sure that it includes the child’s immunization records and contact information for their pediatrician and any other physician that has treated them (especially at times that the parents did not arrive with the child, this information was CRUCIAL)
  • Map the closest emergency departments to your home, business and other locations popular to you.
    • I tell ALL parents to print out a copy of the map and directions and post them on the fridge–along with the Medical History Form and the Consent To Treat Form. If possible, also include a copy of your insurance card. That way you, a babysitter, or anyone else at home with your family and children can grab the information and take it with them to the ER.
    • Complete and sign consent-to-treat forms for each child. (Separate forms are available for special needs children.) Provide copies to all caregivers (e.g., babysitters, relatives, school nurses and teachers.) This form will allow caregivers to authorize treatment in an emergency when you are away from your child.   Download the form at Consent To Treat Form.
    •  I have experienced MANY times when I had an ill child and no parental consent to treat–by law, we will treat children for life-threatening emergencies without parents there, but it still TRULY holds up their care.  Prevent delays to your children’s care by filling out this form.
  • Keep well-stocked first aid kits in your home and car. Home First Aid Kit
  • Add In-Case-of-Emergency (“ICE”) entries to your cell phone address book. If you arrive in the ER unconscious, emergency staff will check your cell phone for ICE contact information.
  • Taking a child to the ER:
    • If you go to the ER, remain calm. Your child will look to you for assurance and will decide how fearful to be, based on your responses.  I know that you may be freaking out on the inside, but TRUST me.  I have seen every variation of parent response here, and those children that did the best were the ones whose parents held it together in front of the child.
    • Explain to the child what is happening and what to expect. Be sensitive to the situation and their age, but be honest. Keep communicating with them.
    • Pack small toys and games to keep children occupied if you have to wait. Print out a copy of ACEP’s “Welcome to the Emergency Department! coloring book. It explains to children what to expect in the emergency department.
    • Bring a sleep-over bag in case the child is admitted to the hospital. This should include a change of clothes, pajamas, a book and/or stuffed animal.
 To prepare for medical emergencies, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
has developed checklists of how to prepare for an emergency. These are not intended to be comprehensive lists.

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