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The Importance Of Keeping A Medical Diary For Your Kids..

Updated on December 13, 2010

Ask any concerned parent and they'll tell you, that a large portion of good parenting requires becoming a staunch health-care advocate for their children.

Logically, this no doubt begins with keeping readily available and updated medical information on our children by way of a medical diary.

* The Medical Diary Defined - What It Is And Why It's Important.

Simply put, a medical diary is a small journal that lists updated (both past and present) and important medical information about the specific individual.

Vital for child, parent, doctors and physicians, a medical diary provides several advantages to all involved.

Medical diaries:

  • offer clues for more accurate and speedy diagnoses.
  • can help prevent medical errors in treatment and diagnoses.
  • provide valuable information when acquiring life insurance for your child.
  • serve as a memory aid for parents when important medical questions arise.
  • provide important information in the event the parent/guardian is not able to speak for the child.

According to a study cited in the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (in 2000), between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year due to mistakes made by medical professionals.

Horrifically, the website Wrong, stated that about 70% of all medical errors were believed to be preventable!

To be fair however, one of the major contributing factors to such medical blunders involved a failure to communicate on the part of the patient, or the patients guardian.

Whether this break down of communication entailed withholding information, presenting information that is outdated, or failure to present complete details, inevitably it is up to us as parents, to ensure that we are providing our children's physicians with accurate, detailed, and up-to-date medical information necessary for a proper diagnosis - thus, the all important medical diary.

* What Information Should Go In My Child's Medical Diary?

It's important to keep in mind then, that doctors and physicians are not mind readers. So a medical diary serves as a blueprint of sorts, that will serve as an invaluable aid in reaching an appropriate and accurate diagnoses.

Therefore, from birth onward, parents should record their child's:

  • first hearing test
  • hospital stays
  • immunizations
  • illness (specify if there are any major illness)
  • milestones (growth charts, first steps, first tooth etc. or lack of)
  • eye exams
  • oral exams
  • allergies (including food, medicine, and environmental)
  • skin conditions (such as eczema, psoriasis, etc.)
  • other disorders
  • medications/vitamins (ones taken in the past and ones being taken presently)
  • doctors/dentist/specialist contact numbers and office address
  • results of every medical, dental, and specialist visit
  • parents address and contact numbers
  • emergency contact numbers and addresses
  • treatment restrictions (whether due to religious reasoning or personal preference)
  • date of birth/recent height and weight/eye and hair color/physical characteristics such as moles, birthmarks etc.
  • recent full body photo -

All these items should be recorded and updated on a regular basis.

* Now That I Know What Should Go In A My Child's Medical Diary, Where Can I Purchase One?

Medical diaries, medical journals, child's medical book, whatever you choose to call it, these important books can be purchased from most major book stores, online, and several retail stores such as Big Lots, and on occasions Target and Wal-Mart (some hospitals provide parents with a small one before mom, dad, and baby leave to go home).

Wherever you choose to purchase a child's medical journal, the important thing is obtaining one. In addition to offering parents peace of mind, keeping an accurate and detailed medical journal is a great way of becoming pro-active participants in your child's health-care.

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    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks fastfreta for the congrats. I'm reveling in the score now, since we all know it changes quickly. The fact that you did keep records for your children was good too. In keeping with habee's idea, since I had my surgery, I've decided to keep detailed records as well. Thanks for stopping by, it's always nice to hear from you.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      WOW! Veronica you made 100, (12/09/09)congrats! Well back to the hub. I must admit I didn't keep a diary, however I kept meticulous records for each child in their own folders as they grew up. I agree with habee, I now keep a meticulous record of myself, not a diary as such, but very detailed. Very good hub.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much Jane@CM and creativeone59 for stopping by and commenting. I truly beleive in the importance of such medical diaries and Jane@CM, you really brought home that point even further.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Wow, so true, great informative hub full of valuable info. thanks for sharing Veronica. blessings to you. creativeone59

    • Jane@CM profile image

      Jane@CM 8 years ago

      You are so on the money with this article. My parents died when I was 17 & 19. When I was 20 I was diagnosed with pre-cancer. I had to get my mom's death certificate to retrieve her medical records. Surprisingly, it was her pre-natal medical records that pointed to my problem.

      Great article and great information.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much guys for weighing in.

      Hello, hello - it's so true how easily we overlook these things, but it's always a good reminder to try and keep one for your children.

      BkCreative - Some hospitals still give you small booklets (starter ones), they are very useful, but the older the child gets it's best to purchase a larger one for more space. I think it's a good idea for everyone to have one for their pets as well, much like your son and his wife - that makes a lot of sense too.

      Habee- I think that's a great idea, to have one for adults as well. That way, whenever we are in an emergency situation, we too can let our doctors know what our condition is at a glance.

      Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to read and comment.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reminding everyone of the importance of this task. It's not a bad idea for adults, either.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      When I was a child and then when my children were young - we were given booklets by the doctor which were filled in with all shots with spaces to make notes - (don't know if it's still automatically done). But if not it makes good common sense to create one - what if there is an emergency and you must see a different doctor or what if you are traveling?

      By the way my son has pet snakes and his wife a bearded dragon - they keep ongoing diaries - of feedings, shedding, weight, etc. etc. So in case of an emergency they can grab the diaries and head out to the vet.

      Great idea - and necessary. Thank you Veronica Allen!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      This is a very good point. It is so easily overlooked with rushing about to get everything done. Thank you.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much for stopping by rkhyclak. I love these medical journals. I have one for each of my girls and you are so right, it makes everything so much easier. I'm so glad you liked the Hub.

    • rkhyclak profile image

      rkhyclak 8 years ago from Ohio

      So true. We have one for my daughter that includes every single doctors appointment, prescription, diagnoses, etc. We started when she was diagnosed with tracheomalacia at 6 weeks-it has been so helpful with all of the different doctors we've had to see! Great Hub!