Written and provided by Rebecca Nichols

After being a mom for ten years and never having the occasion to visit the emergency room, I found myself there with the same child (for different injuries) twice in less than a month! Accidents are bound to happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Here are some lessons I learned:

  1. Do your Homework. Don’t wait until an emergency happens to figure out what to do in an emergency! Ask your pediatrician’s office what kid friendly emergency rooms they recommend. Don’t forget to check with your insurance to find out what emergency facilities they cover. You don’t want to be stuck with unexpected medical bills!
  2. Stay Calm. Take a deep breath and calm down. You may be freaking out at the sight of blood or blaming yourself for something you could have done differently. Your child needs a calm, steady parent when he or she is sick, injured or in a lot of pain.
  3. Prepare to Wait. I took my daughter to the ER and ended up leaving the hospital with her three days later! Sometimes it’s not possible, but if you’re at your house and you have a moment, grab a few things you might need as you’re waiting: your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blankie, your cell phone charger, etc. Don’t forget your child’s insurance card, as well.
  4. Be your Child’s Advocate. Speak up! Clearly communicate what happened to your child and the symptoms he or she is exhibiting. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have and keep asking until you get answers. Never feel timid or guilty for asking to speak with the doctor. Remind nurses or other staff of what you’re waiting for if you feel like they’ve forgotten about you.
  5. Be Honest with your Child. Be honest with your child about what is happening and what the doctors and nurses are doing but assure him or her that you will be right there for help and comfort.