Things To Know Before You Take Your Kid To The ER

child at children's hospital erThere’s never a dull moment in parenting, and taking care of your child might include at least one visit to the ER. Of course the odds increase the more kids you have, so as a mom of 2, I have been to the hospital several times with my children. It’s never been fun, but it has always been necessary.

Kids are very resilient, but that doesn’t make a parent suffer less when they see their children in pain. When my daughter was 17 months old, she had influenza and pneumonia, which required a 3-day hospital stay. Every single time I set foot into a hospital, I remember how she could barely breathe, how scared I was, how I wouldn’t stop holding her and even avoided going to pee so I wouldn’t leave her alone. In the meantime, my husband was home taking care of our son, who came down with the flu.

Most recently, my daughter fell from her bicycle (thank goodness she was wearing her helmet) and injured her right arm. Her painful cries broke my heart and I frantically tried an ice pack, pain relievers, and just good old TLC to soothe her before I realized there was no way around it. I had to take her to the hospital.With kids especially, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if that means visiting a crowded ER on a Sunday evening.

x ray room at joe di maggio children's hospitalI did stop to take some essentials with me, since I knew that we would be waiting for a while. My daughter’s pediatrician alerted the triage nurse, so that helped the hospital have her medical history handy, and then she received excellent care at the Joe DiMaggio’s Children Hospital. She needed an X ray and a temporary cast. In the end we had a follow-up visit with an orthopedic doctor and Sofia now proudly shows her pink cast to everybody. She hopefully will heal soon so she can keep dancing, jumping and twirling as she always has.

I hope you never have to take your child to an ER, but if you do, maybe these tips will come in handy.

Whenever possible, go to a children’s hospital

There is a great difference in the type of care your child will receive at a hospital that specializes in children. Not only the décor will be more bright and cheerful, but the doctors and nurses know how to treat kids. They can make a world of difference when your little one is sick and scared. And in some cases, they will even give your child a popsicle or a sticker. That doesn’t make the pain go away, but small details can bring a small smile to your kid’s face.

Call your doctor on your way to the hospital

No matter the time, it’s best to call your child’s pediatrician on your way to the hospital if possible, to keep him or her in the loop. The doctor can also call the emergency room directly to expedite matters and share your child’s medical history, which can be a huge timesaver.

Expect to be a long time in the waiting room

Emergency rooms tend to be crowded and patients will be seen according to the severity of their symptoms, so be patient. Nights and weekends tend to be the busiest.

Pack a few essentials if you can spare a minute

In case of a life or death situation, don’t waste a single second, but if you can spare a minute, pack a sweater (waiting rooms can be extremely cold), a water bottle, your cell phone charger, a favorite toy for your child and a few snacks. Don’t forget your wallet, insurance card (if you have one) and photo ID.


Read more of Jeannette´s writing here or check out her blog in Spanish on Hispana Global.

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