Your Emergency Room Visit Pack List

How to Pack for a Child's Hospital Visit

by: Alex Thom
Here's what you need to pack for a child's hospital stay

Recently my five year-old son was admitted to hospital due to a severe asthma attack. We hadn't even known he was asthmatic. It was scary, exhausting, and even though he's fine now, I'm finding myself a bundle of nerves and emotions in the aftermath. It was such a blur, really. I noticed he was struggling to breathe, and off we went to a local emergency room. I threw a few things into a bag, but when we got there I realized there was a lot I'd forgotten and I wish I'd had a list to make it easier during that stressful time.

So here's a handy list of things you'll want to pack. Since you won't know if your child will spend a few hours, or a few days in hospital, expect a longer stay and be prepared.

• Money for Parking
The hospital we first went to accepted only cash for parking (crazy, right?), so bring change with you just in case. And bring your credit cards, in case that's the kind of machines they have for parking.

• Health Card
This goes without saying, but bring your child's health card with you. I know you may be flustered, but you'll need it.

• Medications 
If your child is on regular meds, bring them. We had my son's Allerject, and my regular arsenal of allergy mom stuff - Benadryl, ventolin, etc.

• Snacks
My son is allergic to peanuts and nuts so I threw a couple lunch snacks into our bag for him, and his school water bottle with cold water. I wish I had packed food for myself. Once admitted, they fed my son but not me, of course. Some hospitals offer "compassionate meals" for caregivers if you buy them, but I didn't know this until it was too late. I was starving, and sadly under-caffeinated. My son was too afraid to be left alone, so I wasn't able to run down to the hospital food court.

• Activities for Your Child and Yourself
Pack your phone, charging cable, iPad, whatever. Make sure you have something to keep you and your child occupied because an emergency room wait can be hours just to be seen, and if you end up admitted, you'll be thankful you have entertainment. Crayons, a colouring book, a favourite book to read, electronics - whatever it takes to stave off the boredom.

• Toothbrushes and Toothpaste, Other Toiletries
Oh how I wished I'd thrown those in our bags!

• Diapers/Pull Ups if Required

• Changes of clothes
A fresh pair of underwear can make even the worst day tolerable. Throw some pajamas and fresh clothes in a bag before you leave, just in case. My son threw up all over his clothes in the emergency room, so spent a few hours mostly naked until my husband could bring a change of clothes, so it would've been better to have an extra set.

• A Favourite Toy/Stuffie
In the ambulance from one hospital to the next, my son was given a stuffed toy that was donated by a local charity group. He loved it, and it gave him much comfort through his stay. If your child has a favourite toy or stuffie, pack it, because if you end up staying awhile, it'll be great to have

Do you have anything helpful to add to the list?

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