When a child is ill or injured and requires emergency care,
doctors, nurses, and paramedics will have many questions about his
or her medical history. And even the most organized parent might
not be able to remember the details of a child's health history
in a stressful situation.
That's why it's important to keep a comprehensive record
of your child's health information nearby. In many cases, this
information can help a medical professional make quicker diagnoses
and decisions during an emergency, when each second counts.
Read the categories below to learn more, and create a complete
health record for your kids. Keep one copy of the record in an
accessible place at home (such as on the refrigerator), one in each
car, one at each parent's workplace, and one in each
parent's bag or wallet. You should also supply your child's
school or day care, as well as babysitters with this list, along
with the name and number of your doctor.
Record on your list any known
your child has to medications, both prescription and
nonprescription. Allergic reactions to
insect stings and bites
are also important to list. In addition, some kids may have latex
allergies. In many cases, allergy information helps medical
personnel discover a cause for problems like
or difficulty breathing.
can't be taken together, so paramedics need to know
medications (prescription and nonprescription) your kids take
before they can administer any drug. A child's symptoms also
could be due to side effects of medications, which is another
reason it's important to report everything being taken. In
addition, you need to know the doses, the dosing schedules, and
when and how much of the medications were recently taken.
Pre-existing Illnesses or Conditions
Pre-existing illnesses or conditions can have a great impact on
the kinds of tests or treatments administered during an emergency.
If your child has any health problem - from
to epilepsy to
- emergency medical personnel must know. For additional protection,
kids with chronic conditions should wear an identifying tag on a
bracelet. This kind of immediate notification can help doctors save
a child's life.
For a child with special needs, you and your doctor can
fill out a form created by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The
Emergency Information Form for Children With Special Needs can be
found at either aap.org or acep.org and can be updated as
As with any other health record you create, keep the form in an
easily accessed place at home, in parents' vehicles, in
parents' purses or wallets, at parents' workplaces, and
with the child's belongings when traveling. The form should
also be on file with your doctor, school nurse, and child-care
center. It can also be filed in a repository (or database) that can
be accessed by medical professionals in the event of an
Hospitalizations and Operations
List the dates your child has been hospitalized, the reasons for
hospitalization, treatments received, and the types of operations
he or she has undergone. This information may help during
and following an emergency situation.
Keeping an updated record of all your kids'
is important. If you need help remembering or compiling all the
information, the staff at your doctor's office can assist you.
Be sure to include information about any reactions a child may have
had following an immunization, such as seizures, high
, or severe discomfort.
Height and Weight
When calculating medication doses, it can be helpful for doctors
to know the approximate height and weight of the child. (But
you'll need to change this information periodically, since kids
often grow quickly.)
It's relatively easy to compile a written medical history,
and it could mean saving critical minutes - when they count
Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: November 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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