Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Case of Emergency

Obviously every parent hopes to avoid the late night rush the Emergency Room or the panicked call to 911. With a preemie the chance of this happening is even higher than normal. It helps to be as prepared as possible - it will make it easier on the emergency personnel and you. Here are some tips to be as prepared in case you do have to call 911 or go to the emergency room:

1) Medical Information: In a previous post I talked about keeping medical information organized and together in one place. The best time it will come in handy is during an emergency when people need medical information and you are probably too frazzled/busy/tired to remember it all. Keeping a binder updated and ready is a great tool to ensure that emergency personnel know everything that they need to in order to give proper medical care. The key here is to make sure your binder is updated - especially the medicine information.

2) Fire Department - If your preemie has respiratory issues, call your fire department when you bring your preemie home. Let them know that your preemie has respiratory issues/is on oxygen/etc, so that if you have to call 911 they will come prepared with a pediatric oxygen mask. The fire department is often the first on the scene so it's really helpful for them to know in advance what they might be facing. Our fire department keeps a board with this type of information so they noted our address and our daughter's condition when we called.

3) Know what you know - I'm sure people have told you this - you know your child the best. This is absolutely true. Take confidence in that fact and make sure you assert yourself during an emergency if need be. Our daughter is a fast breather naturally so whenever I have had to take her to the after-hours clinic, I always make sure that they know what her baseline breathing/heart rate is so that they can make a diagnosis off of that.

4) Equipment - If your preemie requires specific equipment - oxygen, feeding pump, etc. make sure that you let the medical staff know. For visits to the ER, bring that equipment with you because you don't know how long you'll wait so it is always best to be prepared. Bring whatever medicine you will need for the next few hours as well as any food or formula.

5) Diaper Bag - Try and keep your diaper bag packed and ready all the time so that you can grab it on a moments notice. A couple of toys and/or snacks will go a long way towards keeping your child entertained during a long wait at the ER.

6) Siblings - if you have other siblings, call a neighbor, friend or family (someone who can get there fast) to watch them so they don't have to go with you to the hospital. If they can't get there quickly, arrange to have someone pick up them up at the hospital.

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