Taking Your Child to the Emergency Room
Every summer the number of EMS callouts and hospital visits increases. Majority of these injuries often involve children. Hence, knowing basic first aid for kids is an essential skill for every parent.
With the summer air in our midst, children definitely want to enjoy the sun and their summer vacation. And as kids head to the playground, they are at increased risk for injuries. Emergency medical services across the country are flexing up for an expected surge in number of callouts, meanwhile emergency departments are expecting an increase in hospital visits during this time of the year. While waiting for emergency services, it would definitely be helpful if parents know how to provide first aid for kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 25 percent of the 130 million ER visits were made by children under 18 years old. A great percentage of these emergency visits occurred in the summer as compared to any time of the year.
The idea of being brought the emergency department can be scary for an injured or sick child. But it doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. Parents and guardians can do so much to prepare the child for the visit.
Here are 10 things you should consider when taking a child to the ER.
1. If the situation is life-threatening, call 911. If it is safer to drive, stay calm and drive carefully.
2. Have an emergency action plan. Where is the nearest ER? What is the shortest route to take? Be ready to provide first aid for kids.
3. If possible, inform the emergency staff ahead. Communicate clear to make the process much faster.
4. Have your child’s medical record ready. This includes current medications, medical condition, medications and immunization record.
5. Bring the contact information of the child’s primary physician.
6. Be ready to sign consent forms that is often required at the emergency department. Babysitters, guardians, teachers, and school nurse should bring with them a consent-to-treat form.
7. Make sure the child understands what is happening. Talk to the child in a language that he/she can understand. Be sensitive to the situation but be honest. Keep communicating with the child and provide reassurance. Let the child know that the physician and nurses will examine him/her.
8. A basic principle in first aid for kids is not to let them eat or drink anything after an emergency or injury. The child may require specific treatments or diagnostic tests that may require them to take sedatives and other medications. Wait for instructions from the physicians when the child can resume oral intake.
9. Prepare a sleep-over bag in case the child requires hospital admission. It should contain a set of change of clothes, favorite blanket, and other comfort items such as toys, stuffed animal, or a book. As much as possible, this bag must should be prepared ahead of time and ready for pick-up in case of an emergency.
10. Stay calm. Children can feed off cues given by adults. If you are panicked or
impatient, the child will be as well. Do not make the situation stressful for the child. Taking a first aid class for kids can help you better prepare for such emergencies.