If the need should ever arise that your child has to take a trip to the emergency room, the worst thing you can do is be unprepared. Any mother of twins will tell you it’s important to stay two steps ahead of any situation, and this would be one of those situations where even three steps ahead would be beneficial.
If you should happen to find yourself in an predicament where you need immediate medical care, use the tips below to help make your time in an emergency room a more pleasant overall experience.
- Know where your closest emergency room is located. If possible, find the closest pediatric emergency room. Pediatric ER’s have more suitable equipment and a more specialized type of care than a standard emergency room. This is not saying that a standard ER would not be enough, but a pediatric ER would be better.
- Whenever you leave the house, ALWAYS have a small envelope in your diaper bag (or purse) with $20, and your child’s insurance identification cards.
- If you have an emergency in the middle of the night, do not want to take an ambulance, and are to frazzeled to drive, knowing the number to a 24 hour Car Service in your area can help. Call them ASAP when you think you are ready to go. Also, get the cell phone number of the driver who takes you there. You may not want to start looking for a taxi at 4am if the driver that took you is still in the area!
- When you are on your way to the hospital get your drivers license together with your child’s insurance ID card. Be ready to hand that in at the desk upon arrive into the ER. When you get there, just give it to them, don’t spend time looking for anything. You want your child to be treated as quickly as possible.
- If you have an ipod, load a few episodes of your child’s favorite television show or movie. It’s worth the .99 cents an episode if it will relax your child. Have it ready to roll, it is a WONDERFUL distraction in the car ride, as well as in the hospital!
- Take your biggest breath and STAY CALM. You know your kiddos FEED off your energy, so just stay smiley and silly, and they will stay relaxed if you do.
- On the way to the hospital, put on the radio and sing along if you can, it will take the edge off. You can even play car games at three in the morning. A favorite game that seems to distract many children, is playing “I Spy”. Games like “I Spy”, can distract the child from the potentially scary thought of visiting the ER. If the child is small enough, you might even get away with “seeing” super heroes go into or just leave the hospital. This helps the child not be so afraid, and helps them associate a hospital as a place that fixes you up. An emergency room can be a scary place, even to an adult, so take your child’s fears into consideration, not just of the situation that brought you to the ER, but of the place itself.
- Play games while you wait. Plastic gloves make great balloons! You can inflate them, one, two or twelve, your choice, they are never in short supply at a hospital. You can even draw eyes on some and pretend they are dinosaurs or turkeys. Remember, an ER visit could potentially take a few hours, so make the time fly by having some fun, even if you have to force yourself to do it for the sake of your child. Another game that is easily created is taking tongue depressors and attaching them in a long row with band aids. You can make fishing rods, or magic wands. Minor medical supplies like this are a crafters dream, so get creative.
- If you remember, bring a plastic doll or toy from home (something you can wash well when you get home), and cover him with band aids. The doctor can also demonstrate on the doll what he is about to do to your child, and then your child can reenact this at home to his/her sibling.
- Ask the staff if they have a television and a VCR or DVD player. Most pediatric ER treatment rooms carry some kind of entertainment system for a child.
- Be prepared for anything. If the doctor decides to keep your child, don’t act surprised, just stay calm and prepared to trust the medical professionals who are going to treat your child to the best of their ability!
Good Luck and I hope you never need to use any of this advice. If you have any questions about anything written in the article, feel free to email Natalie Diaz at [email protected]
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Natalie Diaz, a mother of five year old boy/girl twins, is the founder of Twiniversity and current Director of the Manhattan Twins Club, the USA’s largest multiple club in under the NOMOTC. She is also the Twin Expert at New York Family Magazine and spokesperson for twin families throughout the United States.