Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Taking Your Child To The Emergency Room

October 26, 2017 // Parenting, Pure Mama

Being a mum and a nurse means that I view many childhood ailments a little differently than a non medical mama. I tend to have a higher tolerance for sickness before taking them to the doctors or heading to an emergency department because I can do basic assessments on my own. My kids also can’t be ‘fake sick’ because I can see through that in a nano second. All you nurse mamas out there reading this are nodding your head right about now.

Last week my two year old was as happy as a clam. A wheezing clam that is, her doctor called her a ‘happy wheezer’.  I debated for a long time before making the decision that she actually needed medication and to be seen by a doctor. Lizzy has never had any breathing issues before and her ridiculous zest for life made it a bit confusing about whether this was something or nothing. However, I always tell all of my family and friends that you don’t sit on breathing issues. So, at nine o’clock at night we packed up and headed to the Children’s hospital.

This isn’t my first rodeo so I knew exactly what to throw in my big purse before we headed to the ER. Even if this turned out to be nothing, we’d still be guaranteed some kind of wait and you never know when things will go south and you require an admission. It took me under five minutes to gather all these items together.

I grabbed my largest purse and tossed in the essentials. Here is what I purposefully brought for our hospital trip:

  • Her health insurance card. I don’t keep these cards in my wallet, which was timely as I literally just lost it or had it stolen, and so I grabbed it from the storage bag I keep in one of our drawers at home.
  • A credit card for all that parking you have to pay for. If your hospital has free parking, that is amazing. However, many hospitals require you to pay and scrambling for quarters at 1 AM when your mind is in mama overdrive can be hard.
  • My phone charger. Thank goodness for mindless iPhone entertainment for my littlest patient and for keeping in contact with my support team! However, after awhile that use zaps your battery. Especially if it was running on empty before high tailing it to the ER. Funny enough, over the night a mom was frantically looking for someone with a phone charger and I was all, ‘Here! Use mine!’. I had brought my extra long one too so that you can actually sit away from the outlet and use your phone.
  • Random pre packaged snacks. I grabbed some granola bars and other snacks that I knew my girl would enjoy. Turns out this was a good move as the ER department has very limited snacks. However, thank goodness for endless popsicles!
  • An extra pair of contacts or your glasses. Something about being awake way past your bedtime, or like 48 hours in this case, and the dry hospital air makes you so thankful when you can replace your contacts.
  • Your child’s special lovey or blanket. These items that bring your child comfort will be so helpful in the ER while you wait to figure out what is going on. Especially if you’re there over your child’ usual nap or bedtime.

Being a mama with type 1 diabetes means I can’t neglect myself either. So, I tossed in extra insulin and supplies for myself.  We ended up staying in the ER until 3 PM the next day when they decided to admit us to the ward for more treatment. This is when I sent my husband a detailed list of the things that I wanted him to bring for us.

Insider tip: Really reinforce exactly which pants you want them to bring for you or you may end up with the fitted corduroy pants that you haven’t worn for over a year and your fancy bra that you had left out from a party you went to the day before. 

After a couple of days we got Lizzy’s breathing issues under control and went home. However, before getting the all clear we did get two different chest X-rays to make sure she hadn’t accidentally inhaled a Lego or something that was the cause of the onset of breathing issues. Here is hoping we have a low key cold and flu season ahead of us!




About the author

Hi! I'm Andrea, a 30 something girl who loves living the downtown lifestyle and didn't want to give it up once I started a family. Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!


  1. robin rue says:

    Been there, done that and it is definitely no fun. This is a great guide because it is better to be as prepared as possible.

  2. Marissa says:

    I love this post. Sometimes in the mad dash panic mode you totally forget all of these essentials. Thanks for the handy reminder….especially the phone charger!

  3. Lexie M. says:

    I’m a Emerg RN and I love this post. I could only wish other parents could come in as prepared as you sound!

  4. Way to be prepared and keep your cool! Good job momma, I know that’s a stressful time but it sounds like you had everything you needed (for yourself, too!)

  5. Heather says:

    Excellent tips! Our youngest is two years old and I don’t believe she’s had an emergency room visit yet. But our eight year old daughter had plenty of experiences there when she was younger.

  6. TColeman says:

    It can be so scary when you have to rush off to the hospital. These are great tips about what to bring along.

  7. […] Andrea Firmani helps to diffuse some of the stress and worry that accompanies taking your child to the emergency room. We’ve gone through this experience (she was fine, but we wanted to be sure) and […]

  8. The place I go, Memorial Village ER always makes taking my child easier than it is for a typical doctor visit. This is some solid information, though, and I will put it to good use!

  9. Oh my God! Where was this checklist when I had to rush my 6 year old to the Frontline ER?? This is an amazing list, thanks! BTW, for those in and around Richmond, I’d suggest Frontline ER on 1464 street for a supercool doc and an amazing team. – just in case you have any sort of an emergency.