How to Keep Your Kids’ Emergency Medical Information Handy
Within the last week my son was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance to have an out-of-control bloody nose cauterized, and my daughter went to the emergency room with a fever of 104 degrees, and was so delirious that she didn’t know the name of her dog or that she had been to her cousin’s birthday party that day. For both emergency visits, my husband had reasonable cause to look at me like, “Really?!” I couldn’t remember and did not have readily available critical medical information for my kids.
I had lost the health insurance cards for both of my kids. Their wonderful grandparents had taken them to the doctor for me a while back, and somehow the cards were lost in the shuffle. So I didn’t have my kids insurance information on me. And then it got worse.
I was horrified and embarrassed when I couldn’t remember what drugs my son was allergic to. In the stress of the moment, with blood gushing from his little nose, I completely drew a blank. A couple of possible medications came to mind, but I couldn’t remember if those were my son’s allergies or my daughter’s.
In the lull after the storm, with both kids safely healing, I finally took the time to put our kids most important information in a few critical places.
What Information is Critical?
I gathered and posted the following information:
- Kids full names and birth dates
- Health Insurance carrier, and the kids insurance numbers
- Pediatrician’s name, phone number, and the number for the 24 hour consulting nurse line
- Kids allergies
- Our phone numbers and our home address
If your children regularly take any medications, you should list those as well so emergency caregivers can reduce the risk of a drug interaction in an emergency situation. Be sure to include known allergic reactions to medications as well as food or bug bites. If your children have any pre-existing illnesses or conditions, be sure to detail those as well.
Where to Post the Critical Info?
I decided that the more places we put it, the better, so my husband and I both plugged all the information into each of our phones. I posted one copy of an information sheet on our fridge. I printed another copy of the information sheet and gave it to my in-laws – the grandparents with whom our kids spend the most time. For the other set of grandparents, I emailed the information so they could print it and put it wherever they thought would be best.
You may also want to keep printouts of your info sheet in each of your cars, at your workplace, and at your child’s school or day care.
Take Comfort in the Knowledge that You're Prepared
The emergency rooms where my kids received care were not affiliated with our health insurance provider or the clinic we go to. Luckily, my husband was able to get our clinic on the phone to gather the information the emergency room doctors needed to care for my kiddos. On each ER visit, while I wiped away my child’s tears, they saw their Daddy on the phone in the hallway, working dutifully to get all their medical information together for the doctors. I am tremendously grateful that our ER visits went well and my kids are on the mend, but I’m determined that the next ER visits will be even better because I’ll be prepared.