A while back, I read a post by Parenthetical Me about having a bag packed in case your little one needs to go to the ER. There were some really great tips there. I’ve spent my fair share of time in the hospital and know how some key items can really make your stay SO much nicer.
On the day DJ turned 8 months old, she was running a fever. J took her to the doctor that afternoon and they didn’t see too much (no ear infection, no cough, etc) so they gave her a prescription and sent them home. By the time I got off of work, I came home to find baby and daddy snuggling for a nap on the couch. It was so sweet until she woke up and was burning up. We thought it may have been because of the close body heat, but after an hour her fever was still really high. J ran to the store and I called the on call doctor. After an hour we decided it was time to head to the ER because she wasn’t responding to the tylenol/motrin and was breathing rapidly (babies under a year should be about 50 breaths per minute, she was closer to 70/min).
Here is the list of things we packed knowing that it probably would be a long stay. We figured either we were being over reacting first time parents so they would take their time to treat us or this really was serious and we would be stuck there for a while.
- Times and Dosages the baby was given medication in the past 24 hours – Its actually helpful to just bring the boxes of any medication you have given
- History of illness and any allergies
Supplies For Baby –
- Pajamas without feet (x2) – Its great to hook monitors and IV’s up to their feet if possible but only if they have their feet accessible. Also easy to unbutton to get to their chest for listening to their heart/breathing.
- Socks (x2) – Socks to cover up the monitors and blinky lights that are on the toes
- Baby washcloth – When the baby is running a fever or spits up its nice to have a soft wash cloth to wipe their face
- Baby blanket – We brought a muslin blanket which was perfect when she was running a fever but in the cold A/C of the ER
- Boogie Wipes – After the tears of being sick and then poked and prodded the last thing we wanted to do was wipe her nose with a hard hospital tissue. Boogie wipes or soft tissues are great
- Baby food/formula – Its great to have what the baby is accustomed to
- Diaper rash cream – This is considered a medication so you aren’t supposed to use your own, but when on the prescriptions babies often get a rash and its nice to use the type of cream you know works on your baby.
Extras for Baby –
- Plastic toys – If something falls on the hospital floor you want to be able to wipe it off. Toys are also good when they are bored or during procedures
- Disinfecting wipes – Good to wipe toys/chairs etc off
Mom and Dad Supplies –
- Granola bars – who knows when you’ll be able to eat next
- Cash/change – for parking and vending machines
- Pen/notebook or log in your phone – write down nurses names, shift changes, when medication was administered etc. We have caught so many hospital mistakes this way
- Extra change of clothes – you may need an extra layer for the cold or may get stains, etc.
- Throw in a toothbrush just in case because it makes you feel like a new person when you can brush your teeth!
The biggest thing I want to stress though is be your child’s advocate. Ask many many many questions. Why are you doing this, how is it supposed to help, how soon can we expect to see improvement, what kind of side effects can we expect, what are our other options, can we wait to do this later (especially when they want to do vitals right after baby has fallen asleep), will this interact with other treatments, etc etc etc.
We were very lucky that we had about an hour to get packed up before we decided to actually go to the hospital, but next time it may be more of a “dash out the door”. Also, we were lucky that we were seen in the ER right away and were there for about 8 hours and then admitted to the Pediatric ward were they had a lot more kid friendly gear.
Keep this list or a packed bag handy!