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How can I prepare my children for a trip to the emergency room?

When preparing to take your child to the emergency room (ER), the first priority is to ensure safety for you and your child. Stay calm and gather the few items you may need to provide information to healthcare professionals about your child. If driving your child to the ER, ensure safety first by remaining calm and using the car seat when appropriate.

Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

If you have children, consider showing them the emergency rooms (ERs) in your area. Explain what ERs are for and why people go to them. This will help to alleviate any fears they might have if they are ever taken to one. Visit your library and look for books about emergency care for children, such as Curious George Goes to the Hospital. Review your emergency information sheet with them. Practice making a call. Make sure they know how to call for help and where the first aid kit is located and how to use it.

Your ER Survival Guide: What You Need To Know Before You Go (DocHandal's Guides Book 4)

More About this Book

Your ER Survival Guide: What You Need To Know Before You Go (DocHandal's Guides Book 4)

Few people get through life without at least one trip to the emergency room (ER), either as a patient or support person for a family member or friend.  "Your ER Survival Guide" is the new title for "Doc's ER Survival Guide" it is for non medical persons! It is designed to help calm readers' fears by giving them the lowdown on how an ER operates. The book is written by Kathleen Handal, MD, an emergency physician with over 20 years experience. Handal is a nationally and internationally known emergency medicine physician who authored "The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook" and co-authored a series of medical textbooks. Included are ten simple steps to follow to get ready for an ER visit, as well as valuable insight into how an ER operates so readers can advocate for the best care possible. Complicated tests and terminology are explained in easy-to-understand terms.Doctors and nurses are making decisions in a fast-paced, stressful environment. Mistakes can and do happen. So the more people know about what to expect the less likely one of those mistakes will happen to them. Reading the book is like having Doc Handal at your side when you need her the most.

The most important thing to remember, when preparing your child for a trip to the emergency room (ER), is to stay calm. The more upset and anxious you the parent are, the more upset your child will become. Bring activities to keep children busy or a toy that they enjoy playing with. Never threaten children by saying the nurse or doctor will give them a shot if they do not behave. Knowing which medications your child is on and if your child is up to date with his or her shots is also important. Parents should also know the last time their child went to the bathroom and ate. If you feel like at any point you need to step out of the room because you are upset or do not like to see your child having intravenous (IV) therapy placed, just communicate with the staff. ER professionals are there to help and make everyone as comfortable as possible.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.