A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Emergency Room

It is inevitable that with a house full of boys we would end up in the emergency room…again. This time was the worst. But I do have to say, keeping a cool, calm and collected attitude made ALL of the difference when it came to surviving the emergency room.

It was a very hot Thursday afternoon, so we decided to go for an afternoon swim. When it was time to get out, we gave the 5-minute warning, and inevitably my almost 5 year old begged for “one last jump”. I had already begun the process of gathering our things, and getting the baby out of his wet clothes and into the stroller. I could hear the calls for Daddy to watch the “one last jump”, I heard the splash and thought nothing of it.

As my husband came out of the water, I could hear him saying, “Are you OK?!”. I immediately jumped up to see what was going on. As they made their way to the stairs, my husband said, “I wasn’t ready. My eyes were closed and he jumped. He hit his chin on my head.”

As they got out, I could see blood running down my little guys neck and onto his swim shirt. Sure enough, a huge, gaping slash in his chin. Although I was not happy and kind of grossed out, I said, “That needs stitches. Let’s go!”

While I’m not wishing an E.R. trip on anyone, if you find yourself in need of an ER or After Hours Clinic, here are some tips to get you through.

Surviving the Emergency RoomKnow your insurance!

Take a moment NOW (before an emergency happens!) to know where you would go in case of an emergency. Are you to go to the Emergency Room or the Urgent Care? Understandably, your child will be frightened. The last thing you want is for panic to set in because you don’t know where to take them. 

We headed right over to the after hours clinic. It was 4:30pm, and they didn’t open for another 30 minutes. So, needless to say, we were first in line.

Be sure to have entertainment.

Be sure to take along an iPad or your phone. If you have to sit and wait You WILL sit and wait in the waiting room, or in your room for tests  & results. Games and movies are a lifesaver. It’s not a bad idea to take a charger along, too. My little boy sat patiently and watched a movie on his iPad while they put some numbing gel on him. (Thank you technology.)

Deep breaths, and stay calm.

When you stay calm, it will encourage your child to stay calm. They asked him what happened….and he told the story with such a calm voice and stoic demeanor. (BUT, he sure was quick to point out that DAD was NOT ready!) The nurses and doctor chuckled and then commented on how brave he was. Once he was numb and prepped, it was stitches time. At this point everyone was so impressed on how calm all of us were. We knew that keeping our cool would ultimately keep him calm…and the last thing I want is a screaming child that will not let them fix him. So even though I was screaming on the inside, I kept it together on the outside.

Mentally prepare your child for what is to come (without all of the details obviously)

I’ve never witnesses stitches being done before. Let me tell you, this child just laid there. He made a face a few times when he saw the needle headed towards him, but never flinched. The nurse distracted him with talks of his long eyelashes and more encouraging words about how awesome he was.

Praise them on their braveness and calmness

Once they were done {7 stitches later!}, the doctor and nurse told my husband and I that we should teach a class on how to be calm in a situation like that. We laughed and thanked them. They proceeded to tell us a few stories of parents loosing their cool during stitches…and some even needing stitches themselves from passing out!

So again, while I’m not wishing an E.R. trip on anyone, if you find yourself in need of an ER or After Hours Clinic, I hope these tips help to get you through. Do you have some additional tips? 

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