As a mom of 3, I have had my share of emergency room (ER) visits. Two boys and 1 child with complex medical needs equals many ER visits. I have learned a lot along the way by making many mistakes. Those mistakes taught me how to make the ER trips smoother. I hope they will help your family also.
When an emergency happens and you must take your child to the emergency room there are a few things to remember to help make your trip a little easier. Anytime your child is hurt or sick it is an emotional situation—being mentally prepared will help.
Always try to call your child’s primary pediatrician and let them know what is going on with your child. Sometimes your doctor can assist you over the phone and avoid an ER trip, but other situations require an ER visit.
Many times, the doctor will call ahead to the hospital and do a prior authorization. This will help save time checking in at the emergency room. This will also inform the doctor of the situation so he or she can be involved and update your child’s medical chart.
You can also find out what hospitals your child’s doctor is affiliated with beforehand. If you choose to pick one of those to go to, the prior authorization can be done.
Make sure to pack a child-friendly bag. Put a few snacks, small activities, iPad, and a favorite security item in the bag. I always make sure I put a bottle of water in there for myself—my mouth always gets dry in these situations. If you have a child with other medical conditions, make sure you pack their medications and any other medical equipment they might need.
As hard as it will be, try to remain calm—that will help ease your child’s fears. Remember to inform the staff at the ER of any other medical or mental disabilities that your child has and any accommodations that they may need while at their facility.
Going to the ER is never fun but I hope these tips will help and make the visit a little less stressful.
There are many resources on this site that can help. Visit the Diagnosis and Health Care section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.