A sick kid is not fun, but a sick kid on their way to the Emergency Room is honestly a mom’s worst nightmare. Or at least it was for me. My daughter was only a couple years old and struggling to breathe. My husband was a nurse and when he said, we need to go to the ER, I knew we needed to go, and fast. I got my daughter into the car and drove as fast as I could without breaking any speeding limits and pulled up. I honestly had no idea what I was doing… I hadn’t been to the Emergency Room since I was a little girl- and I was the patient. I had definitely never experienced taking my own child to the ER.
Everyone was really nice, they had me do paperwork and then took us back. Normally my daughter is so good at the doctors office and doesn’t bat an eye to them taking vitals. Not today. She was hysterical, not feeling well, and being in a new, unfamiliar place had her rattled. She kept tearing off the wrapped pulse oximater they had on her hand, pulling down the oxygen they had on her face, and just had this look of fear. I couldn’t figure it out- I honestly still haven’t figured it out. I’ll I know is I was a mom on the verge of tears knowing my daughter needed medical help, but feeling helpless in knowing how to calm, my normally very calm child down.
We got back into another room when the nurse and respiratory therapist came in. The nurse brought in a blanket and stuffed animal that they said had been donated to the hospital for children who needed comfort in the Emergency Room. My daughter hugged that animal and pulled the blanket up to her chin. She finally looked comfortable and the rest of the visit was smooth sailing. The Respiratory therapist had her “blowing fluffy clouds” and laughing as they did her breathing treatment and she thought the pictures the x-ray tech took were so cool.
I sat there amazed that something so simple was so calming to my daughter and thought, why didn’t I think to bring her blanket? Or one of her dolls? Because, I had never had this experience before. I didn’t know what to expect. So, here are 5 things that would have helped me, that hopefully will help you, if you ever have to go to the Emergency Room with your child.
5 Tips for Visiting the Emergency Room with Kids.
- Take something that comforts them. A blanket, a doll, a stuffed animal- anything that won’t be in the way that will calm your child down or make them feel a little less uprooted.
- Know if they have any allergies and have them written down along with any medications they are taking. They will ask, and if you are like me you are so focused on your kid who is sick and your mind is blank. They will also ask for other information that will be nice to have on hand such as your pediatricians information, medical and surgical history, and of course, your insurance.
- Depending on what you are there for you may be there for sometime and have lots of sitting time before and during your visit. Bring a book, coloring book, or something you have on hand that can keep your child distracted and busy while waiting for doctors and nurses. Try to stay as calm as possible, they need to know that everything is ok, so by distracting them and staying calm yourself you can make it a lot easier on them.
- Ask questions. It may seem busy and crazy, but if you have a question ask it. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. You know your child better than anyone so speak up if you think something needs to be addressed. I was trying not to be “annoying” and take up too much of their time and ended up having to call later to ask questions I was too nervous to ask. It is their job to do everything they can to help your child heal, so ask away. They don’t mind.
- Find someone to watch your other kids. Your child is going to need your full attention, so if at all possible, leave the kids home with a babysitter, family member, or friend while you go. You will be grateful you aren’t chasing kids around while trying to listen to what the doctor has to say about your child.
Hopefully you never have to take your child to the Emergency Room, but if you do, hopefully this will make the experience go as smooth as possible.