In the days after September 11th, two thousand, one hundred children were left stranded in daycare.
Because their parents didn’t fill out one of the fields on their daycare emergency contact cards.
“Who should we contact if you are not able to pick up your child?”
How could something so basic, strand two thousand children on one of the scariest days in American history?
The inability or refusal to take two minutes to think through what might happen, if they and their spouse were unable to reach their child. The ridiculous thing is, it doesn’t even have to take a real emergency for this to happen. You could be stuck on the freeway, or trapped in an airplane you were certain would arrive on time.
So take a few moments to think about it. And please, please don’t just jot down the first name that pops into your head!
Imagine that you have an accident or get in the middle of a transportation nightmare and you and your spouse are unable to pick up your child from school that afternoon. Or for two or three days. Who would you want taking care of him?
You need someone who knows your child extremely well. Someone who would be able to calm her down and would have the energy to care for her. Someone who knows what she likes and dislikes. And, in case of extreme emergency like September 11th, it would really help to have someone with the ability, brains and fortitude to help locate you or your spouse, if overburdened emergency personnel weren’t able to help.
That’s the kind of thought you need to put into emergency planning, especially where your children are concerned.
Now what about your child’s medical history? Some schools or day care centers don’t even provide a card for medical history, or the one they provide might be so sparse that it would be useless in a true medical emergency. Don’t forget that you can simply create your own medical history card and see that it’s stored with your child’s records. That way you can be sure that the information you would want emergency personnel to have in an emergency, will be right at their fingertips.
If you have a copy of our book Ready, you’ll find Medical History Forms for you and your kids in the back of the book. If not, you can download a copy of our Children’s Medical Form here.
So grab your form and let’s get started.
Before you begin filling in the form get a piece of paper and gather everything you have for each child on his or her own sheet. You’ll need to include a list of chronic conditions, allergies, medications and vitamins that they have or currently are taking along with dosage. Include a list of all of your child’s health providers including specialists, dentists and any other professional who sees your child on a regular basis.
Now take a moment to sit by yourself in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and imagine each of your children individually, with a moderate injury, like a broken ankle. You’re sitting in the emergency room with him.
The doctor – someone you’ve never seen before and who doesn’t know your child’s unique medical or emotional needs – walks through the door. What would you tell the doctor about your them? What do you need her to know?
Child by child, jot down all of the things that just went through your mind. Old injuries, allergies, surgeries, anything you think is important. Then do the exercise again, imagining that this had been a serious injury. Is there anything else that you would need to tell the doctor or surgeon caring for your child? Anything that might help save his or her life?
Again, jot down any additional things that went through your mind for each of your children.
At the end of our forms, we include a few other questions about your child. Things that a nurse or physician might need to know to help calm your child down while treating her, until you’re able to be at the hospital So include a brief section on your child’s likes and dislikes, what calms her down, favorite foods or toys or anything else that might help. No matter how old your child is, kids tend to regress a bit when they’re hurting or frightened, so the information you provide here can go a long way towards keeping them calm and helping the medical team give them the treatment they need until you arrive at the hospital.
Since children don’t carry wallets or driver’s licenses, make sure that they have ID cards with current emergency contact information in a few different locations, like in a backpack or tucked into a cell phone or an iPod Touch. And don’t forget to put an ICE Contact (in case of emergency contact) to your children’s iPhones or smartphones. You can find out how to do that right here on our blog.
Taking the steps to ensure your child’s information now, will help keep him safer while giving you a little more peace of mind. Talk about a win-win!
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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