Tips for Taking Your Child to the ER

Try to stay calm. Children take cues from their parents, so try and stay composed for your child.

Hold off on food and drink. Having a full stomach could delay necessary procedures or tests, so wait until the doctor tells you that your child can have food and drink.

Leave siblings at home if possible. It’s best to be able to give your child requiring the ER visit your full attention.

Bring your child’s health history. It helps if you’re able to provide an up-to-date record of previous illnesses, immunizations, allergies, chronic conditions and any medication that your child is taking, along with when they took the last dose. Also, know the name and number of your child’s primary care provider.

Bring ingested items. If your child has ingested a particular medication or household product, bring the container of the item. If your child swallowed an object, bring an example of that object if possible.

Prepare for a wait. Patients are seen at the ER in order of severity, so it’s possible you will have a wait. Once in a room, there is often a wait before receiving results from tests, so it helps if your child has a quiet toy or book to occupy them (if they’re well enough to play).

Tell your child what to expect. The anxiety of the unknown can be worse than the actual pain for many children.

Keep the papers you receive at discharge (either from the ER or if you’re admitted and then discharged from the hospital) as they contain instructions and information that you may need to look back over once at home, and also share with your child’s doctor at their next visit.