I’m a mom to an only born 5 year old who has been to the emergency room and urgent care centers more times than I would like to count. Granted, some of these visits could have been avoided, but hindsight is 20/20 (or in this case, a hefty copay). We’ve had boo boos consist of blood, bruises, mouth trauma, rocking chair mishaps, bacterial infections, rashes and bug bites to a frayed earring in the earlobe (this is a thing and quite common I was told). It happens and it’s inevitable but it still really sucks. You never want your child in any pain or discomfort, and even the sight of their blood can make grown men weak (a.k.a. daddies). I’ll share what I’ve learned as a mom on what you can do to prepare for these unfortunate circumstances.
1. Keep a small backpack with socks, underwear, toothbrush, comb and a favorite blankie or stuffed animal. You tend to forget a lot when your child is screaming and you’re frantic. Hospitals are very cold and it’s nice to have something from home that makes them feel secure. In that same backpack, have a copy of the insurance card and medical history with emergency contact information. In an emergency, you’d be amazed at how much you don’t remember.
2. Take a quick picture. Any kind of bite or rash can change or spread in minutes.
3. Designate a driver or get a ride. Not everyone handles stress the same and in a fight or flight situation, some parents may drive erratically without realizing it. It’s best to get to where you’re going safely for your family and everyone else on the road.
4. Be the calm in their storm. In the midst of an emergency, this is definitely easier said than done, but they mirror you. If you start crying, they will cry more. Try to compose yourself because it is in this moment that they are looking at you to be their beacon of calm.
5. Monitor what is normal for your child. If your child is normally very active and they are acting lethargic, take this as a sign that they need medical attention.
6. Keep a log on the fridge or on your phone if you’re treating a fever with Motrin or Tylenol. It’s easy to accidentally double dose or lose track when you aren’t getting good sleep yourself. Also, get the dosage list from your pediatrician and tape to the bottle or box of the medicine you were instructed to give.
7. Never ever feel silly bringing your child in to an emergency room or urgent care. Hospitals have a system in place to evaluate patients brought in and it’s best to err on the side of caution if you are unsure.
The good news is children are resilient. They are clumsy as toddlers and fearless as they get older; they are bound to have a misstep, tumble, break or virus. It’s a part of their whole growing progress and the “battle scars” they get tell a story that is usually priceless and unique.