When our newborn is lying peacefully in her bassinet, it's hard to imagine that we (or their babysitter or nanny), may ever need to take this child to the emergency room, for a broken finger, an acute asthma attack, an injury from a car accident or other crisis.
But in case the unwished-for crisis occurs, you want to be prepared (and to have your sitter prepared, too), for any information that may be needed.
Here are ten items to include in a child care emergency checklist. Keep the list on your refrigerator (in situations with more than one household, post it in each household) and give a copy to all your caregivers.
- Your children's full names, correctly spelled. (Your babysitter may know their nicknames, but correct, full names are on health insurance cards.)
- Your children's address, ZIP code, and phone numbers. List two addresses if parents live at separate homes.
- Contact information for each parent, including work and cell phones, name of employers, work addresses, and hours they will normally be there.
- The pediatrician's name and contact information, and the same information for any specialists your children see, along with a notation on what their specialties are.
- Contact information for the dentist and orthodontist.
- Drug and food allergies your children have.
- Medical conditions your children have, medications taken, and danger signs to be aware of for each of those conditions. For example, will your sitter know how to identify an asthma attack? Be sure you tell her how to recognize it, how to help with the inhaler and when to call 911.
- Your children's health insurance policy number, the subscriber's name, and the address and phone number of the insurance company (there's usually an 800 number or member service number listed on the back of the insurance card). Some insurance companies will allow you to order duplicate cards, which can be extremely useful for your babysitter or nanny. This is often the very first item asked for in the emergency room.
- Family and friends to call, plus their contact information, in case the parents can't be reached.
- If you have more than one child, you should include their cell phone numbers, if any, as well as an emergency contact number of a friend or family member who can gather everybody together in case of an emergency. It's worth taking a few moments to tell your kids what will happen if there is an emergency with one of their siblings -- that a friend or family member will find them and bring people to their home or to the hospital if necessary.
We all hope that you'll never need the above list, but being prepared in a crisis can help things go smoothly and prevent panic.Ronnie Friedland is an editor at Care.com. She has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.