How to Make an Emergency Contact List
While you can’t protect your child from the inevitable bumps and bruises of life, what you can do is to make sure you’re prepared for those situations when they arise. Taking the simple precaution of throwing together a list of emergency contacts, and posting it in a prominent place in your home (ours is on the fridge, and we have a second copy in the diaper bag for when we’re out and about), can be a game changer when emergencies happen. And remember, the list isn’t just for you. Believe it or not, it won’t be long before you’ll be trusting your child to grandparents and aunties, babysitters, and daycare providers, who may or may not know who to call in the event of a crisis. We’ve included helpful links for our home state of Colorado, but you can find similar online resources no matter where you live. So, take a few minutes and do the research.
What to Include . . .
Phone Numbers for Emergency Providers – These are an absolute must. Make sure that your emergency contact list includes the phone number for your local police department, fire department, the closest hospital or emergency room as well as the closest urgent care clinic to you for urgent issues that aren’t necessarily life-threatening. We also include a reminder to call “911” in case of emergency.
Emergency Hotlines – The biggie here is to make sure that you include the Poison Control Hotline (800-222-1222) on your list. Baby proofing is a billion dollar industry for good reason. Pharmaceuticals, cleaning chemicals, insecticides, cosmetics, and even some house plants, are just a few of the many common household items that are real, and potentially lethal, dangers to your child.
Doctors and Dentists – Be sure to include the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your pediatrician’s office, your local dentist, and a local urgent care facility should the need arise. Even when you don’t need immediate medical help, a quick call to these providers can help put your worries to rest, or alert you to situations that demand your attention.
Family and Friends – List contact information for a few trusted friends and family members that can provide help and advice if you’re unreachable. We make sure to include the number of an “adopted” Grandma who lives a few houses down the street (and we gave her a key to the house), which gives us some extra peace of mind when we’re out and someone else is watching the kids since she’s just a short walk away should the need arise and things need checking in on.
List of Health Conditions, Allergies, & Medications (when appropriate) – If your child has any health conditions or allergies, be sure to make that known, especially if it’s something that an emergency provider would need to be aware of (an allergy to penicillin, for example). Also, be sure to list any medications that your child is taking, even if they are temporary or over-the-counter.
Your Contact Information – You’d be amazed how many parents leave this information off their list. Be sure to include both your cell and home phone numbers, your home address, and your contact info for when you’re at work. Yes, it makes you easy to reach, but it also provides critical contact information to anybody who needs it, whether that’s a babysitter or nanny calling the police or fire department for help, or an urgent care or emergency doctor who needs specific answers about one of your family members.
Important Info About Your Kid – This is entirely optional, and I’ll confess we don’t include this info on our list, but my sister details my nephew’s fears, bedtime, favorite snack, and favorite stuffed animal on her contact list as well. I’ve always thought it’s a good idea, and my sister has noted that multiple babysitters have thanked her for including the information!
Of course, this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. We’ve talked to parents who include contact information for everything from Animal Control to a local locksmith. If you can think of other contacts or information that you think is important to provide, by all means do it. That said, this does cover the bases. Remember, the key to weathering any emergency, whether it’s a broken arm, your child choking on a grape, or finding your toddler walking around with an open bottle of Tylenol, is to stay calm and seek immediate help. An Emergency Contact List provides you (and others caring for your child) with easy access to the resources you need to do just that.