Who is on Your Child’s Emergency Form?

I have to apologize, because this post is only a little funny.

Here’s the semi-funny part. On Halloween, I actually managed to provide an overly authentic blood spill in the parking lot of MY CHILD’S PRESCHOOL. I whacked my own head (repeat: MY OWN HEAD) on the corner of my Honda door while loading my little costumed child back into the car after the preschool Halloween party. Within moments, I had so much blood running down my face that I had to appeal to some poor people in the car parked next to me, and they retrieved Cormac and helped me into the preschool office for assistance.

That’s all not really blog-relevant, but I’m getting to my point. Once I was sitting in the chair with the nurse putting pressure on the gash in my head, several very helpful women started asking me who they should call and pulled out my child’s emergency form. Who was on it? My parents…who live 45 minutes away and both work full-time in buildings that do not allow cell phone usage.

Hmmmm. Smart, no?

My husband works a half hour away. I had one child at a nearby elementary school, needing to be picked up in two hours. The other child was sitting with me, watching the blood flow. I needed to be driven to the ER.

Who could I call to pick up my William from school while I got my head stitched? I thought of my neighbors, who were on William’s emergency form. But I didn’t have their phone numbers programmed into my cell phone because I see them daily and always talk to them over gmail messenger or on Facebook.

I tired messaging both of these friends, but of course they were not sitting at their computers, awaiting my “gashed my head can you pick up William” message. They were working and running errands! The true idiocy of my emergency contact choices was revealed to me.

Thankfully, a woman who taught William last year was kind enough to go to his school, attend his class Halloween party in my stead and take him to McDonald’s and I was able to arrange this via phone with his school office. My husband arrived as quickly as he could and took Cormac and me to the ER to get my head stitched up. I was so touched by the kindness and concern of all of these wonderful people who helped me in the parking lot and the office.

I got a really realistic Frankenstein costume in time for Trick or Treating, and I’m resting at home today. I’ll have a scar on my forehead to remind me to avoid the corner of the car door in the future. Life is good and I’m lucky I didn’t hit my eye instead of my head!

I’m just asking you to rethink the contacts on your own emergency forms and consider if they are really practical. If your contacts are not very close by, or not usually available, there might be better choices. Also ask yourself if they have car seats installed, because we had to move a Britax into someone else’s car at a time when we really just wanted to get to the hospital. If you get a bleeding head wound in the preschool parking lot, you don’t want to add the feeling of being an idiot to your problems. Trust me on this one.

And thanks so much to the retired doctor and nurse in the next car, who hopped out like nothing crazy was happening, put pressure on my head and said “Oh, my. You need some sutures, dear.”

Please learn from my mistakes and share with your fellow parents. I think we all tend to assume that, if an emergency occurs, WE will be the one to respond. I never considered that I would actually cause the emergency…but it can easily happen to anyone. Well, see if you can avoid the sharp corner of your car door…that is a good start. Also get your forms in order, though.

12 Comments

  1. You’re right. It’s not terribly funny but a fantastic reminder to us all. I’m sorry you went through that added stress at an already stressful time. When we first moved to Maine and didn’t know a soul, I had no one to put on our emergency contact forms. It was a scary thought, wondering who would come take care of my child if something were to happen. I added friends in Boston and my mother, who lives in Florida for half of the year and New York for the other. I made a gamble and thankfully nothing happened. On a positive note, we’re all filled up with local emergency contacts now – Maine is pretty awesome that way 🙂 Feel better and get some rest today!

    • Alicia

      Glad to hear you have those contacts now. I didn’t for years, either, but I’m finally there.

  2. So glad you’re okay, Alicia. I have hit my head HARD on the trunk door of my van twice in the last six months (I think those Hondas are trying to kill us), but all I got was a splitting headache and a huge bump. I’m extremely lucky that my parents are retired and live within 10-15 minutes of anywhere I would be. This is a great reminder that anything can happen at anytime and we need to have updated info. I will be sharing. Now go put your feet up and relax today, Mama!

    • Alicia

      Thanks, Kathy! And thanks, also, for sharing.

  3. Glad you are ok! Good reminder to check those e-forms! Luckily, my hubby only works 10 min away, but what if both of us can’t make it to our son? Our closest family is 1-hr away. And we haven’t befriended any neighbors….oh, and the carseat thing! We only have 1 and I don’t know how to install it in case it were me having to switch it. Oi.

    • Alicia

      Yes, I’m still baffled by our carseats, which is very bad.

  4. Great advice! I’m sure my kids have some emergency contacts that aren’t very practical but I felt I had to add them to be “fair” and represent my ex’s side of the family. Fair is nice, but not that helpful in an emergency.

    • Alicia

      Exactly! Not the time to be fair. Definitely the time to be practical. I realized it wasn’t even important that your contact be a good friend – although there were some I should have had on there. Really, you need a helpful, kind neighbor or anyone who is willing and able to drop everything and assist you. I have a whole new view of emergency forms now!

  5. Erika

    My oldest DS (age 7) cut his finger on Saturday at a neighbor’s house. They were super fast about getting pressure on it and sending DS2 to run and get me. I took one look at the cut and knew that it definitely needed stitches. Although DH was home, the neighbors offered to watch the other two boys while we went to the ER. Having a reliable emergency contact is a must! Then, my poor DS1 was afraid about being teased for having a Frankenstein finger for Halloween. Fingers are bad places to try to keep stitches clean on kids, so we’ve been keeping a band aid on it most of the time and he’s been happier about it at school. It was a much smoother experience than the 16 stitches he got in his forehead on Thanksgiving when he was 18 months old (fell face-first into a terracotta planter at my SIL’s house as we were heading out the door, and now has a Harry Potter scar).

    • Alicia

      Erika, my scar is almost in a crescent moon shape, so I was joking that I could put a palm tree next to it and represent the Outer Banks, right?

  6. Point taken, and thanks for the reminder, Alicia! This is exactly the kind of thing I would do too. Hoping for quick healing!

  7. I honestly think I left my emergency contact info. blank as if I couldn’t really foresee an actual emergency happening and requiring contacts. As I read this, I saw the obscene error of my ways. Going to check in on the emergency contact forms first thing Monday morning. You’ll be the prettiest Frankenstein on the block.

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