When providing emergency care, doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel like paramedics
ask many questions about a patient's
. Some hospitals have electronic
health records that keep all medical information about a patient in one
But it's still a good idea to update your family's records. Keeping your own record
of your kids' health info can help a medical professional make quicker diagnoses and
decisions during an emergency, when each second counts.
Who Should Have a Copy?
Keep one copy of the health record in an accessible place at home or by the phone,
one in each car, one at each parent's workplace, and one in each parent's bag or wallet.
Also send a copy to your kids' schools or childcare, and give one to any regular caregivers,
along with the name and number of your doctor.
What Should Be in a Medical Record?
Record on your list any known allergies your child has to medicines, both prescription
and nonprescription, and any known allergic reactions to insect
stings and bites and food allergies.
Some kids have latex allergies. Allergy information helps medical personnel discover
a cause for problems like swelling or trouble breathing.
Some medicines can't be
taken together, so paramedics need to know all medicines (prescription
and nonprescription) your kids take before they can give certain drugs.
A child's symptoms also could be due to side effects of medicines, which is another
reason to report everything being taken. You also need to know the doses, the dosing
schedules, and when and how much of the medicines 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 used in an emergency. If your child has any health problem — from diabetes to epilepsy to
asthma — emergency medical personnel
must know. For added protection, kids with long-term (chronic) conditions should wear
an ID bracelet with this important information on it.
List the dates your child has been hospitalized, the reasons for hospitalization,
treatments given, and the types of operations done.
Keep an updated record of all your kids' immunizations.
If you need help remembering or compiling this, the staff at your doctor's office
can help. Include information about any reactions to an immunization, such as seizures,
high fever, or severe discomfort.
Height and Weight
When calculating medicine doses, it's very helpful for doctors to know a child's
approximate height and weight. (Be sure to to keep this updated, as kids can grow
It's easy to compile your child's medical history, and it could mean saving
critical minutes — when they count most!