9 Pediatric Emergency Essentials
You're there: what to expect
You've made it to the ER -- now what? Ellen Hollon, a spokesperson for the Child Life Council, offers advice on how to navigate like a pro.
Try to stay calm. Yes, that's a tall order in this situation, but if you're able to keep a cool head, your child will be less anxious. She gets the message that if Mom can deal with this, then she can, too.
Advocate, advocate, advocate. It's easy to be intimidated by doctors, especially when you're already stressed. But try to leave those fears at the door. Ask questions and take notes. It's a doctor's job to address all of your concerns. Same goes for when you check in: Make sure the staff understands why you consider this an emergency. If a receptionist tells you to wait and you feel you need to be seen immediately, ask for the triage nurse. And when it's time to go, make sure you've been given clear instructions.
Ask for pain management up front. IVs or blood draws can be frightening, and they're not pleasant. Most hospitals have numbing creams available but may not use them unless requested.
Request a child life specialist. Many hospitals have trained professionals on staff who help kids (and their parents) deal with stressful hospital experiences. For more info, go to Childlife.org.
Be honest -- sort of. If your child asks if a shot will hurt, admit that some people do find it uncomfortable, but then ask, "I wonder how it will feel for you?" allowing your child a range of responses. -- Amy Beal