Prevention Helps Keep Kids Safe
Almost 35 million children visited an emergency department in 1992. Yet a recent survey
commissioned by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and The Upjohn Company
found that only one our of five families with children say they have discussed with their
regular doctor what to do in a medical emergency and only one-third say they feel
"very well prepared to handle an emergency".
"One of the most important gifts you can give your children is the knowledge of how
to recognize and respond to medical emergencies," says Robert Schafermeyer, MD,
FACEP, an emergency physician in North Caroline and chair of the ACEP Pediatric Emergency
"Whether children are home alone with with a sitter, parents can help ensure their
safety by making sure every family member is prepared for an emergency," says
Schafermeyer. The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends that parents take
the following steps:
Use your doctor or pediatrician to learn about emergency care in your community, get
preventive care such as immunizations and treat minor illnesses before they become
Make sure every child knows how to call for help. If your community does not have the
9-1-1 emergency number, post the seven-digit emergency numbers for emergency medical
services, police, fire and the poison control center near every phone.
Make prevention a priority. Lock away all poisons, harmful products and weapons. Safety
belts, child safety seats, and bike helmets are just a few ways to prevent injuries.
Keep a first aid kit and a manual in a handy place. Make sure all family members and
sitters know where the kit is located.
Leave a consent-to-treat form for each child with the sitter, and attach your child's
To receive a free copy of a consent-to-treat form, a list of items that belong in a home
first aid kit, and the brochure What You Should Know About Emergency Care, send a
business-size, stamped self-addressed envelope to: Prevention, American College of
Emergency Physicians, 900 17th St. NW, Suite 1250, Washington, DC 20006.