Organizing your thoughts before going to an emergency room can help you be ready when you get there.

Stay calm

First and foremost, stay calm when you are with your children. If you appear worried or upset, your child will feed off of those fears. Give them a reassuring smile or let them sit on your lap to help distract them from their current discomfort. Depending on how old they are, reminding them that you aren’t going to leave their side during their examination can also help them trust the nurses and doctors that are going to be caring for them.

Be an advocate

Be ready to be an advocate for your child, but also encourage them to describe what they are feeling in their own words. Resist the urge to Google symptoms and what they could mean while you are waiting in the ER. Instead, focus on saying what you see in your child rather than trying to use medical terms. Be sure to notice any changes in your child’s behaviors and notify the triage nurse in the emergency room if something changes while you are waiting.

Be prepared to wait

Be mentally prepared for a potentially long wait in the ER. The emergency room staff takes your child’s health seriously, but needs to prioritize care for potentially life-threatening cases first. If you have the opportunity, grab some entertainment for your kids to enjoy while you wait, like their favorite book or tablet. Not only does this calm your child if they are in pain, it also gives you an opportunity to collect your breath and be able to support them when they see the doctor.

Follow up

After your child is seen by a doctor and receives treatment, make sure you know how to care for your child’s injury or illness when you get home. Clear instructions can help prevent future emergency room visits or dosage mistakes. After your visit, contact your child’s pediatrician and let them know about your child’s treatment in the ER and what the diagnosis was. You may need to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for follow-up care.

Amazing Together

If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.