Taking your child to the emergency room can be traumatic experience for both you and your child. Your child’s pain and discomfort may be compounded by the unfamiliar surroundings, the high-pitched sounds coming from the equipment and the rush of doctors and nurses coming in and out of the exam room.
Because you may have no other option but to take your son or daughter to the ER for medical emergencies, you can at least make it more bearable by using a few well-meaning tips. These suggestions can help minimize the trauma of an ER visit and ensure that your son or daughter gets the medical help he or she needs.
Choose a Child-Friendly Emergency Room
You may not realize this fact, but some emergency rooms are better equipped to handle children than others. In fact, facilities like SignatureCare Emergency Center in Mission Bend have physicians and medical specialists on staff around-the-clock who are trained in pediatrics. Such locations also have care rooms available that are designed just for this age group.
When you take your son or daughter to a child-friendly location, you get the assurance that the doctors and nurses have equipment on hand that is tailored for children on hand. Specialists also are on hand to help you ease your child’s anxiety by distracting his or her attention with games, toys, coloring books and other entertainment.
Take along Favorite Toys, Books or Games
Even if your child is experiencing a medical emergency, you both may have to wait to see a doctor. If your son or daughter is not critical, he or she may have to wait in a queue to receive an exam and treatment.
Most children dread long waits. However, your child’s frustration may be heightened by his or her pain or discomfort. You can make the dreaded wait more tolerable by bringing along your little one’s favorite books, games or toys. Because most hospitals now have free WiFi, you could also bring along a tablet or cell phone on which your child can play.
Leave Siblings at Home If Possible
Your sick or injured child needs your undivided attention at that moment. When you bring along siblings, your attention may be diverted into several different directions, leaving your sick son or daughter without the attention he or she needs to be comforted and at ease. Rather than splitting your attention and perhaps your own stress level, you can give your undivided attention to your son or daughter at the ER.
Bring Familiar and Comforting Items from Home
Many kids think that emergency rooms look, sound and smell scary. You can put your own child’s fear at ease by bringing along familiar comforts from home. Your son or daughter may feel more at ease when you bring along:
- A favorite blanket
- A comfortable pillow off the bed
- Stuffed animal or favorite toy
Even older children can be put at ease when you take along a throw blanket that you normally keep on the sofa or a jacket or shawl that you keep at home for family members to use to keep warm. Small comforts from home can take the edge off and help your child be less fearful about the impending treatment.
Provide a Written Medical History
When you are at the ER, time can be of the essence in getting your child treated immediately and appropriately. If you have a log or diary that can show the physician what medicines, treatments and procedure your little one has undergone, this information could shorten the amount of time it can take to reach a proper diagnosis.
This information also reduces the likelihood that your child will be given a medication that could cause an adverse reaction. Having written documentation of your child’s medical history should be one of the resources you take along to the ER with you.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Your little one will undoubtedly be fearful and upset about the ER visit, especially if the medical situation involves a traumatic injury or illness. Even so, it is critical that you keep your own emotions in check. If you are upset, your child will gauge his or her reaction from yours.
You can help keep your child stay calm by remaining calm yourself. Keeping your own emotions in check, speaking in a soothing and controlled voice, and avoiding outbursts of crying, anger or yelling can make your child’s visit to the ER more comfortable.
ER visits rarely come about because of pleasant circumstances. Your son or daughter might be fearful because of the unfamiliar and frightening surroundings, the physical pain or discomfort being experienced and the thought of the upcoming medical treatments and procedures. You can use these tips to make the visit more comfortable and to help your child’s experience in the ER more tolerable.