Friday, April 27, 2012

Info Every Parent Should Carry At All Times

Today people all over the southeast, but in Alabama especially, have been remembering the devastation of the tornados last year. I had a different perspective as an employee at the state's only Level I trauma center so when I think of all that was happening at that time I think about what I encountered at the hospital and what I continue to encounter in other emergency situations.

When I get called to an emergency at our Children's hospital, one of my first tasks is to get some basic info for the healthcare team in the back. More often than not at least one piece of info is missing because someone doesn't have it. Maybe mom keeps up with this stuff but she wasn't with the child when whatever it is happened or worse, she was and is also hurt/sick or at another hospital. Maybe they keep the social security cards locked up where they can get them if they need them, but nobody has time to grab it when they're rushing to the hospital. Even the parents that normally know all this stuff just can't remember it in the middle of an emergency because they are worried about their child. This is absolutely understandable, but it really is important so it helps to write it down and put it in your wallet or type into your phone (or both!)

Full legal name
Date of birth
Social security number
Info about vaccinations (especially if they are on an alternate schedule - what have they had and how many doses?)
Any medications - what, how much, how often, and why (this includes over the counter stuff!)
Allergies - drugs, food, insects, anything!
Previous illnesses, injuries, and hospitalizations - you don't need to list every cold, but it's helpful to know if the child just got over something. Also, any special needs or developmental delays.
Blood type and weight (you probably won't get asked this, but it's helpful to have)
Primary Care Doctor's name and phone number

It's not a bad idea to give a copy of this info to grandparents and make sure it's written down in case a babysitter needs it. If you're worried about someone having access to your child's ssn, put it in a sealed envelope marked "in case of emergency"! If you have a family emergency notebook, put a copy in that, too.

Personally I think it's a good idea to have this on your spouse, too. I know most of this about Jeff, but he will tell you he doesn't know most of this about me! If you don't put the whole vaccine record, at least put the date of the last tetanus shot! If something ever happens to us and someone else has to give this about us, we're both in trouble! We assume that grown-ups should know most of this about themselves and be able to provide their own history and information. For a regular visit to a doctor's office that is true, but what about in an emergency? I can't tell you the people we had in the ER who we knew their name and maybe even had their insurance info, but had no information to contact a family member to let them know they'd been in an accident. Sure, most of them had a cell phone, but a good portion of those phones were password protected. I understand people wanting to do this, but if you do PLEASE WRITE DOWN YOUR CODE AND PUT IT IN YOUR WALLET! Or even better, put contact info for your next of kin in your wallet. It could be something as simple as a business card that you write "in case of emergency please call" with their name and relationship!

I hope and pray that nobody ever needs to use this, for themselves or any other member of their family, but please do yourself and those caring for you and your loved ones a favor and keep it on your person just in case!

1 comment:

  1. When I was taking so many prescriptions, I made sure to keep a notepad in my phone at all times up to date with all my medications. Now that I'm not, I really don't. Thank you for reminding me to update this! I am going to update right now.

    I know all of this about Joey, but I can guarantee you he doesn't know them about me, but thankfully, he does know about the notepad I keep in my phone.