As mothers, as we have more children, the likelihood of needing emergency medical care increases. Despite all of our work to keep them safe, toddlers fall, they get sick, and they eat things they’re not supposed to. Getting to the hospital can be a trial on its own – but when you’re there, you want to be sure that you have everything you need to make it easier. Even though medical care has advanced, you need to be prepared for a long wait in a harsh, sterile environment. Considering how difficult it is to take a toddler to the corner store, some advance preparation will be required.
To help you out, we’ve prepared a list of things that you’ll need to bring to the ER with your toddler:
- Insurance info – Hospitals are pretty sticky about getting the paperwork done and making sure you can pay. Put your insurance info in a pocket in your purse so it’s easily accessible.
- Doctor’s info – You’ll need to have the information about your doctor – including address and telephone number. The hospital may need to contact your child’s doctor for more information. Staff will also direct any test results to your child’s primary care physician or follow-up care instructions if needed.
- Current medications – Have a list of your child’s current meds including type, dosages and the timing of the last dosage. This includes any over the counter medication like Tylenol.
- Child medical history – It’s helpful to keep a list of your child’s essential medical history – especially if you have more than one child. It’s so easy when you’re flustered by the process to get mixed up. Your list should includes any non-routine doctor or emergency visits, diagnoses, if and when any tests were taken and their results, any prescribed medications or allergic reactions. Having this information at your fingertips means that the medical personnel won’t have to go digging for medical records and potentially wasting valuable time. There are also smartphone apps that can help you to keep track of this information.
Optional (but super helpful!):
If you have a small child, you’ll have some additional needs for what might be a long wait for tests, x-rays, or specialists. It’s important to consider both your child’s comfort and your own. Some of the things you might need include:
- Stroller – If you have a toddler and you’re going to be on your own in the ER, do not forget to bring a stroller. If your child is physically ill, they may not be moving much. However, if they’ve injured themselves, you may need to keep them contained so that they don’t injure themselves further. A stroller also keeps your child from wandering about and can keep them contained if you’re worried about germs.
- Wipes, diapers and a couple changes of clothes – Most moms will have these handy anyway – but you should plan on having extra. During examination, your child’s clothing may get damaged or covered in fluids. A change of clothes and extra diapers will help you to ensure that they’re comfortable. And wipes can pull double duty – you can use them to wipe down surfaces.
- Phone with charger – Consider bringing either a charger or an accessory battery to keep your phone charged. This will help you to keep others informed, and may help to distract you during the long wait. Some hospitals even offer Wi-Fi for a small fee.
- Distractions – In this electronic age, it should be easy enough to distract your child. Most hospital waiting rooms have a television, but it may be tuned to an adult channel. Just in case, keep a couple of your child’s favorite movies or games on your smartphone or bring a tablet. You should also bring a stuffed animal or favorite blanket to distract and comfort your child if any procedure needs to be done.
- Food/drinks – And not just for your child. If you may be in the ER for a while, you’re going to want to have some snack food to keep your energy levels up, and those hospital waiting rooms can get awfully dry. Keep in mind that your child may not be allowed to eat or drink, so confirm with medical personnel first.
- Extra cash – you’ll want to have cash on hand for both parking and in case you need to make a trip to the coffee shop or vending machines (if you forgot or didn’t have time to grab food/drinks).
Unfortunately, your child unexpectedly getting sick or injured can happen. Emergency hospital visits aren’t fun for anybody, but with a little planning, even if it’s on the fly, you can make your stay a little more comfortable for you and for your child.