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How to be More Prepared for Emergencies if Your Child Needs Help Quickly

Prepared for Emergencies

You think this will never happen to you. There’s an emergency and your child needs to go to the ER right now. You tell yourself this can’t be happening. Your stomach is in a swelling pit of knots and you’re about to burst into tears. Then you stop and pull yourself together because the most important person in the world needs your help. The adrenaline rushes and you’re out the door.

Parenthood has its frightening moments, especially during one of these harrowing experiences.  Click To Tweet

That’s why you always need to be prepared for emergencies.

As a parent, the worrying never ends. I really thought I was done with childhood ERs and then my six-week-old grandson was rushed to the hospital. I watched my daughter go through the fear and the worry, just as I had. Her mommy instincts kicked in and she did everything right. Everything I had taught her to do. 

My beautiful grandson is home and well. It was scary but he’s a fighter. That’s why I call him my little warrior. 

This story could have gone another way. But it didn’t because my daughter acted quickly. That’s why I want to share, with love, my best suggestions on what to do and what to expect if this ever happens to you.

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.

Prepared for Emergencies

It’s rare for children to become seriously ill without some kind of warning, but it does happen. Sometimes it’s a childhood illness or infection such as pneumonia, bronchitis or asthma. Choking, Abdominal pain, swallowing  or coming in contact with a poisonous substance. Injuries such as burns or a head concussion from a fall. Then there are playground or sports injuries. In our case it was respiratory, labored breathing, low oxygen and chest retractions.

Whatever it is, your quick action is important. Being prepared for emergencies is one of the best things you can do for your children and  other children in your care. 

Take a CPR and first aid class. Take refreshers every year. Have family and caretakers do the same.

In case of any kind of emergency, do the following:

  • Stay calm.
  • Start CPR if your child is not responsive.
  • Give rescue breaths if your child is not breathing.
  • Call 911 if you need immediate help. 
  • Apply continuous pressure to the site of bleeding with a clean cloth.
  • Place your child on the floor with head and body turned to the side if having a seizure. Do not put anything into the mouth.
  • Do not move your injured child unless there is in immediate danger (e.g. from a fire). 
  • If your child has trouble breathing, go right to the ER. Or call an ambulance. (Don’t drive yourself.) The paramedics can deliver oxygen and get your child safely to the hospital.
  • Stay with your child until help arrives.
  • Bring any medicine your child is taking with you to the hospital. Also, bring suspected poisons or other medicines your child might have taken. 
  • After you arrive at the ER, make sure you tell emergency staff the name of your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor can work closely with emergency department doctors and nurses and can provide them with more information about your child.
Prepared for Emergencies

Emergency Contact Information

It’s imperative other family members and babysitters know what to do and react quickly in case of an emergency. This means ensuring that everyone has or knows where to find your list of emergency contacts. It’s essential information to read and have on hand.

Adhere the list of emergency phone numbers to your  fridge or home organization board. You can also  place it in a see-through shadow box or frame (so it won’t get torn or smudged) for easy access so that you don’t have to go searching for it in case of an emergency. Being prepared for emergencies means thinking ahead and being organized. 

Here’s what your emergency contact information list should include:

  • Your local emergency service (911 in many areas).
  • The nearest hospital emergency room with the address.
  • Police and fire departments in your area.
  • Your address and the nearest intersection, in case you’ve got a new or temporary babysitter who has to relay information to emergency dispatchers.
  • Your pediatrician or family practitioner.
  • Two nearby friends who can be called upon to help.
  • The Poison Control Center (800-222-1222, or to locate the center nearest you).American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Essential Information about Your Child

Besides having a list of emergency contact numbers, it’s smart to also have essential information about your child handy . Again,  for other family members or caregivers to have. You can keep this list on the fridge,  your diaper bag, or the other places discussed above. You can even just email it to anyone who takes care of your child without you present.

Be extra prepared for emergencies, by creating the following list today:

In an envelope have a copy of the front and back of your children’s or family health insurance cards, a copy of your ID, note blood type, Include $40 for a just- in-case cab ride and a copy of the emergency contact information.

Also:

  • Your baby’s first and last name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Medical history, such as asthma, heart problems, and allergies.
  • Names of any medications your child is taking.
  • Immunization history.
  • Both parents’ names.
  • Your home, work, and cellphone numbers.
  • The pediatrician’s name and phone number.

Preparing to go to the ER

In life-threatening situations, you may not have time to prepare for the trip to the ER. You may be waiting with your child for an ambulance or rushing your child to the hospital yourself. However, some medical emergencies allow a little more time for you to prepare for the trip to the hospital.

You may end up spending quite some time at the ER or hospital, so gather together the following items before you depart, if you’re able to:

  • Any medications that your child is taking (write down information or take along the actual bottle).
  • A favorite book, blanket, or stuffed animal to help your child feel more at ease while at the hospital.
  • A change of clothes and a toothbrush for your child and for yourself (you both might stay overnight and this will ensure your comfort).
  • Chargers for your cell phone so you can stay in touch with family members or caregivers watching your other children at home.
  • Health insurance card.
  • Medical history information (the list of essential information about your child provided above is excellent).

What to Expect at the ER

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long your wait at the ER will be. However, if your child has a severe medical condition, you’ll likely be seen right away. Chances are, you might be spending quite some time at the hospital so prepare yourself. Things to keep in mind are getting by with limited sleep and what to do for meals. 

Upon arrival at the ER, your child will be seen by a nurse or a doctor (depending on the severity of the condition). You’ll be asked about their symptoms while their vital signs are checked. This quick assessment called triage will give the nurse or doctor the information they need about how to proceed. Be ready to answer any questions quickly and provide as much information as you possibly can. 

You’ll also likely be required to go through a registration process. During this process, you’ll be asked to sign consent for treatment forms and produce your health insurance membership card. This will probably happen when you arrive at the ER (before your child is seen) or after triage in case of a severe emergency. 

Prepared for Emergencies

The whole experience can feel like a blur because you’re stressed and worried about your child and because things tend to move fast in the ER. Also, different doctors may be in and out of your room and offer different kinds of management. To keep track of everything take a notebook and a pen with you and jot down important information such as:

  • The names of the doctor(s) who attend your child.
  • What they say about the illness or injury.
  • Any medicines or treatment they give your child.
  • Directions for follow-up or care at home.

When Staying Over at the Hospital

Depending on the situation, you and your baby may need to spend the night at the hospital. Many medical professionals like to monitor infants over a period of time to ensure that the treatment is working and the child is stable before being discharged. This can be helpful for your peace of mind as well. But the logistics of spending the night at the hospital can make things tricky (because mama, I know you won’t want to leave your baby’s side).

Call Your Life Line

Now is the time to reach out to your support system. The helpers in your life. Whether it’s your spouse, your mom, your sister, a friend, or all of the above. You’re going to need support, so reach out. If you’re at the ER alone with your child, call your helpers to let them know what’s going on. You’re going to be exhausted, emotional, and unable to attend to certain things while you’re at your child’s side. 

The people in your support system can assist you with the following things:

  • Looking after your other children and pets at home so that you don’t have to leave.
  • Bringing you food to the hospital so that you don’t have to skip meals and have the energy to sustain yourself through the night.
  • Bringing you a change of clothes or something else essential that you forgot at home in the rush to get to the ER.
  • Coming to keep you company or spend some time by your child’s side so that you can get some sleep (either in the hospital or at home).
  • Provide emotional support for you and ask questions that you may not have thought about.

Rushing your child to the emergency room is usually an unexpected and extremely scary situation. Because of this, you may not feel prepared for emergencies at all. You’ll likely forget something important, worry about your other kids, not eat or sleep for hours and just feel like a mess. 

This is completely normal and totally understandable. None of us can be fully prepared for emergencies; especially when it comes to our children. But by taking the time to create important lists, information, gathering your support team and taking classes, you’ll, at the very least, feel slightly more prepared for emergencies in case something does happen.

Summary

Nobody ever wants to deal with a childhood emergency. Most of us don’t even want to think that our child could have an emergency. But they do happen. And trust me, it’s so much better to be prepared for emergencies.

Use this guide to prepare yourself for the unexpected so that you know exactly what to do in case this happens to you. 

Do you feel prepared for emergencies if your child needs help?

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Comments 12

  1. Oh, Ronni… How scary. Like you, I’ve been there and been absolutely terrified. I’m so glad your grandson is OK.
    This is a really wonderful post full of actionable, spot on, suggestions. Every parent needs to follow them.

    1. Thank you, Diane!

      It’s one of those experiences that you hold it together and when it’s over,take a deep breath.

      I agree, every parent needs to learn about what to do in an emergency. No exceptions!

  2. Ronni- How scary that your daughter, grandson, and all of you experienced this emergency! Your grandson is so precious (that face!), and I’m glad that he’s doing better now and that your daughter acted quickly to get him the help he needed.

    Your lists for being prepared are impressive. No one likes to think about the worst, but taking the time to be ready just in case will take some (not all) of the stress away if something does happen. You’ve provided an awesome template for parents to be emergency-ready. And of course, this template is applicable for other situations too.

    I’ll be thinking of you and your family. Sending you all extra love and hugs.

    1. Linda,

      Much appreciation for your concern. After what we went through,if this post helps just a handful of families, I’ll jump for joy.

      My daughter is such a great mom and I admire her strength.

  3. I’m so glad that your grandson is well. What a scary ordeal! Great tips! Thanks for creating this post.

    My kids are in their 20s now, but I am still thinking about their safety going off to college during a pandemic. When they were younger, having a to-go first aid kit that held what my kids needed did well in our home. Premade first aid kits are great, but they lacked things my kids needed. Because it had a handle, we could carry it anywhere we needed to for quick attention to the injury. To this day, the kids know where it is and what is in it. When they went off to school, I made a smaller version of it for each of them. We review it every year to make sure all the stuff is in it.

    1. Thank you, Sabrina!

      There’s always something. I think the most important thing is to stay calm.
      Having a great first aid kit and taking classes it’s so important.

  4. This honestly brought back so many memories. I know how crazy scary this can be. I’m so glad your grandson is ok. Each time a new little life arrives on the scene we are back into the potential worrying, right? These tips are all so helpful and practical.

    Have to say, almost worth just buying an extra long charging cord or two to keep in the car and in your bag for emergencies. There are never enough outlets! And you are trying to keep enough power to keep everybody informed.

    1. Seana,

      Thank goodness for charging cords! I think as moms we never stop worrying about everything. Not that the worrying helps, but it’s part of the parenthood experience.

      My grandson is doing well. What a way to enter the world!

      Thank you❤️

  5. Your advice is so important and will help so many readers! Having had a few emergency room visits in my past, I can’t imagine how scary it must be to deal with medical emergencies with one’s children. One of my good friends had just bought her preemie home a few days earlier when he turned blue and couldn’t breathe. She was home alone and had to call 911 and perform infant CPR. I like to think that I keep a level head, but I’m flummoxed at how one can do that in such situations.

    1. Julie,
      Having experienced plenty of child emergencies, your adrenaline and instincts kick in. It’s not one of the better experiences in life but it’s certainly one you want to be prepared for. Armed with knowledge, moms come to the rescue!

  6. I wish I’d had this post when my daughter (now 20) was diagnosed with anaphylactic reactions to nuts as a baby – I went from general worry to super specific worry, which helped me get concrete steps in place for what we needed to do from here on out. A post like yours would have been the reassurance and practical advice I needed as a young mom. What a blessing you’ve written this!

    1. Lucy,

      You really had a tough time there for a while and it must’ve been frightening. What a wonderful mama for doing what you needed to do for your daughter. I’m sure you’re very proud of her.

      Thank you for your kind words. I try to write about real life, my experiences and now, as I watch my daughter being a mother. Juggling so much and watching her navigate all the challenges, I’m almost reliving it all over again.

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