What’s Your Emergency?

Posted on March 4, 2010. Filed under: Parenting | Tags: , , |

As an aerobics instructor (currently on baby hiatus), I have to be recertified every two years.  This includes a myriad of CEUs and a recertification in CPR. This is the year I need to submit all my requirements so I can continue to count in a series of 8 and tell everyone ‘they can do it!’

This time around, I went to a CPR class at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In the past, I would go to the Heartsaver CPR Class, watch a video, breathe into a plastic mannequin, collect my card and go home; glad for the refresher and glad I have not yet had to use what I have learned.  Yet this time around, I had a different perspective; that of a Mom.

I have taken this class countless times, but this time I looked at the video and training materials with ‘Mommy Eyes’ and this is what I took away from the training.

1.  Program ICE as a contact into your phone.  This stands for “In Case of Emergency”. Emergency responders are trained to look for this in your cell phone or smartphone when you are unresponsive. Include the contact numbers (and the names!) of your spouse or other family members. Include medical information, the name of your kids and any special instructions. If you are unresponsive, they can call your children by name, call your spouse and know if you have medical allergies, etc.

2. This day in age, you may worry that someone, who should not have this information, can get their hands on it.  To protect yourself and your family, but still provide key information to emergency personnel, teach your children their “Special Superhero Names”.  Be creative.  Then teach them to give their real information only if it is a real police officer or firefighter. In an emergency, responders would rather have the real names (William vs. Super Macaroni-n-Cheese Boy) but as long as you have real numbers to family or doctors and they know the code names, they can assess the situation and provide details to the emergency responders.

3. Place a sticker or tape a notecard to the base of your child’s car seat or booster seat.  Include your child’s name, pediatrician, medical information and emergency contact information here as well.

4. You should have similar information in your child’s diaper bag.  Get an inexpensive luggage tag (or a fancy one if you wish! Ju Ju Be has cute ones) and insert relevant info.  Or in some diaper bags, there is a little photo holder.  Place the emergency contact card here.  I mean, how often do you have people look in your diaper bag at a photo? Make the space more valuable by using the space for contact details (or put the emergency info on the back of the photo at least).

5. Insist on having caregivers (this includes the grandparents!) be trained in CPR.  Not only can they be prepared in an emergency, but you learn valuable tips regarding SIDS, cutting up food for children, and more.  As my Mom has been saying over and over since my son was born, ‘They didn’t have this when I had you”.  My reply? “Now they do”, and there is a reason for it.

6. Get trained yourself.  Forego a pair of pants or a new pair of shoes and spend $40 to take a CPR class yourself.  You are better prepared for your children, your spouse, your own parents, and your children’s friends that come over to play.  Worth the money and the time.

7. We hear it all the time, but we forget to do it.  Put contact information next to, into or on your phone.  Program the pediatrician’s number, the local hospital’s number and the police and fire station’s number into your home phone.  Put a sticker on the phone with the same numbers or place a magnet on a fridge with details.  You may think you will remember, but in an emergency, will you? Heck, when I am late and running out the door in a tizzy, I can’t remember where I put my keys!

8. Think about putting your street number on your house and curbside.  Many communities no longer have street lights and often we shut off our house lights when we go to bed in the evening. Make it easier for emergency responders to find your home in the dark.  Have large house numbers.  Make sure you spruce them up every couple of years with fresh paint.  Consider putting your street number on a mail box, a curb or a post near the street if your home is set back and would be hard to see the numbers in the dark.

These are just a few ideas for you to consider.  Always check in with your local police and/or fire department for how your community handles emergencies.  We often think nothing bad will happen and often we are right.  For me, I rather know that regardless of how the cards fall, I know what to do and can help others do what they are trained to do.  Should you?

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