Essential Health Information for Caregivers of Children

If your children will be staying with caregivers for an extended time, it’s important to have these key details on hand.

a Black grandmother hugs her smiling granddaughter

Updated on October 3, 2023.

You’ve checked off everything on your packing list, stocked the refrigerator, and prepared your home for grandma and grandpa to come stay with your kids. But have you put together the health paperwork you need to leave with them while you’re away?

No one wants to plan for a worst-case scenario. But for your child to be treated for an emergency while they are in the care of someone other than yourself, it’s necessary to have the right documentation on hand. In a nutshell, treating a child’s injury or condition requires a parent or guardian’s consent, and if you’re not there to provide it in person, your caregiver needs to have it in writing.

That’s just the start. To make smart and efficient decisions in a potential crisis, your caregivers shouldn’t be scrambling to locate basic information about your child and their healthcare providers (HCPs). With a little preparation, though, you can help make sure that your children get the best and most comprehensive care possible in the event of an emergency.

Here's what to include in your caregiver emergency checklist. Remember that this is intended as a guide only. More specific information may be necessary to allow HCPs to address your child’s specific needs and circumstances.

Personal information

For starters, you’ll need to have the basics laid out clearly. First, include your information:

  • Your full name
  • Whether you’re a parent or a legal guardian
  • Your full home address, including cross streets (in case a call needs to be made to 911 or other emergency responders)

Next, include basic information for each child in your household. That includes:

  • Child’s full name
  • Child’s date of birth

Medical and treatment information

Next, you’ll need to itemize anything that would be essential for emergency responders or HCPs to know. That should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • Medical conditions (including any hospital stays, such as at the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, as an infant)
  • Allergies
  • Medications taken
  • Date of last tetanus booster shot
  • Name of health insurance carrier, member identification number, group number, and the cardholder’s name
  • Nearest ED (emergency department) where you’d want your child to be taken (including directions to the ED)
  • Poison Control Center number: 1-800-222-1222

If your child has special healthcare needs, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have partnered to create an Emergency Information Form (EIF). This handy, downloadable document helps caregivers consolidate important medical details onto one page.

Healthcare provider information

If a situation crops up that requires contacting your child’s usual HCP, your caregiver will need to know how to get in touch with them. This may include the following:

  • Pediatrician’s name, address, phone numbers, and office hours
  • Dentist’s name, address, phone numbers, and office hours
  • The names and contact information for any specialists who treat your child, such as a surgeon or allergist

Contact information for you and nearby helpers

You certainly may be called upon to consult in case of illness or emergency. Make it easy for your caregiver to reach you or other trusted friends or loved ones quickly. Have the following information available:

  • All phone numbers to reach you, including cell phone numbers, plus the name and number of your hotel or rental property, as well as anyone else at your location who could get in contact with you
  • Phone numbers of any close relatives or friends who have agreed to help in an emergency
  • Phone numbers of your nearest reliable neighbor (who has agreed to help) and their address, as well as a backup person who would know how to reach the neighbor

Permission to treat form

This form gives an HCP permission to provide medical treatment when your child is in someone else's care. Requirements for such authorizations may vary by state and/or facilities, so be sure to check what is required in yours. To have something handy, ACEP provides a simple, straightforward Consent to Treat form that you can download and fill out.

Emergency situations are unlikely, and odds are you’ll make it through your trip with everyone at home staying safe and sound. But taking these steps to prepare can help ensure your children get the timely care they need.

Article sources open article sources

Fanaroff JM, McDonnell WM, et al. Consent by Proxy for Nonurgent Pediatric Care. Pediatrics. February 2017;139(2):e20163911.
American College of Emergency Physicians. Medical Forms. Accessed on July 25, 2023.
American College of Emergency Physicians. Emergency Information Form for Children With Special Health Care Needs. Accessed on July 25, 2023.

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