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3 Things You Need as Part of Your Everyday Emergency Plan When You Have Small Children

We recently went through a series of small everyday emergencies with N that landed us in the ER and the doctor’s office having blood drawn. We realized through those experiences that we needed to prepare better for these everyday emergencies.

The first little emergency came on A’s first birthday. I was upstairs changing her diaper while Hubby, the boys, and my parents were downstairs preparing to sing “Happy Birthday” to her. I had pink cupcakes and everything.

Before the fun could start though I heard a thunk and crying coming from N while I was still upstairs. I didn’t even move any faster because A) Hubby and my parents were all downstairs, and B) it’s a fairly common occurrence in our house.

Except for this time, Hubby’s slightly panicked voice penetrated my eye rolling and had me hustling down before I had even finished dressing A again. It was pretty clear by the time I got downstairs that we were headed to get stitches. Turns out he was running across the couch and banged his head right on the hinge of our shutters. You can see him do it right about the 11 second mark. I promise no blood is shown and you get the bonus of seeing how messy my house can be at times.

Not three weeks later, he attempted to squish some bees while we were at C’s Tball practice. Except, it wasn’t just a few bees it turned out to be an entire hive hidden beneath a covered water valve. By the time I got to him, he was literally covered in bees.

We are fortunate that he was wearing long sleeves and pants. He was only stung 10 times due to that protection. Trust me it could have been far far worse. You can read all about our bee hive experience one day when I’m calm enough to write it.

These two experience got me thinking and realizing that we needed a better emergency plan in place to be prepared for these everyday emergencies with 3 small kids.

Please Bee More Careful!

One of the best places to start for emergency preparedness is avoiding the emergency altogether. With small kids running around this is not always possible but some simple precautions can go a long way.

Teach Kids to Be Mindful of Their Surroundings

It’s not enough to just tell C and N to “be careful.” We are actively working on teaching them to be aware of the things around them. My parents used to always say “be aware of the world around you.” It was such a great phrase because as we got older it took on more meaning and it was generally enough to apply to all kinds of situations.

Now I find myself saying the same thing to my own sons. C is just at that age where he is really starting to get it. We are trying to take opportunities to encourage him to pay attention to the people and environment around him. Helping him to notice dangers that are age appropriate.

Preparing for an emergency starts by being able to spot one before it happens.

Take the Proper Normal Precautions

Clear plastic box with first aid supplies inside sorted into smaller boxes

We had a rule growing up that you never left the house without shoes. They didn’t necessarily have to be on your feet but you didn’t leave home without them. It seemed so silly growing up when I knew we were just headed somewhere I planned to take them off anyways.

However, as an adult, I understand why my parents required that of us. There was never any knowing what could happen when you were out and about. A simple fender bender could require you to be stepping out onto a freeway. A quick unanticipated stop at the grocery store also requires shoes.

Small plastic boxes with first aid supplies inside

It pays off to take simple normal precautions in case you are faced with an emergency. Some precautions we take as a family:

  • Shoes whenever we leave the house
  • A first aid kit in the car
  • Small first aid kit in the diaper bag
  • Well stocked first aid kit in the house
  • Smoke detectors
  • Water and snacks stored in the car
  • Emergency numbers stored in your phone (nurse hotline, after hours doctors line)
Small first aid box with small bandages wipes and gauze


It’s impossible to plan and prepare for every emergency. Plus, if you have small children chances are at some point or another you will end up in an everyday emergency situation. It’s best not to over stress about it.

It’s not the end of the world if you end up in the ER for stitches. You aren’t a bad parent. If they break their arm the likelihood of long term lasting issues is small. They will be ok and so will you. It sucks. I know it sucks to go sit in an ER for 6 hours to get 4 stitches (no joke!).

Little boy with stitches in his head near hairline

However, in the grand scheme of parenting, it wasn’t that bad and we all made it through the experience smarter and wiser.

Have an Everyday Emergency Plan with Small Children

I’ve seen lots of emergency plans for all types of natural disasters and other large scale emergencies. However, what’s rarely talked about for families are everyday emergencies and how to prepare for them. Take note of some of the lessons we have learned over the last few years as parents.

Who Will Keep/Watch the Kids

This is an important one when you have several small children. You do not want to be lugging them all to the ER to sit and wait or catch all the germs there.

Have a list of people that could possibly take your other children in case of an emergency with only one. At least one of those people should have the means to transport your other children in case you need to meet them at the ER/Urgent Care. They may not have car seats but a car that is able to carry them is important.

We start with local family and have a few friends that are also on the list. These should be people your children see and interact with on a regular basis if possible. They will possibly be upset enough that one sibling is hurt or sick going away from mommy and daddy to someone they are not comfortable with will only add to that stress.

What Emergency Room/Urgent Care is Closest

We realized when we had to take our son for stitches that we were smack dab between halfway between two hospitals we are comfortable taking our children to. Both are 30 minutes away. One is in network, one isn’t so that makes the choice easy. We do have a closer small hospital nearby if it were a life-threatening emergency.

Little boy a few hours after bee stings

However, I actually didn’t know that we’re literally halfway between the two when Hubby asked where we were taking him. It never even crossed my mind to take him to an out of network hospital for a nonlife-threatening emergency. (By the time we got loaded up in the car a little pressure had stopped most of the bleeding.)

Little boy the morning after bee stings on fac

It turned into a rather stressful few minutes as I realized for him it was a question of where to go and my decision-making skills wavered. However, since then I have figured out what is best and can now inform him with confidence of what ER and what urgent cares we will go to in different situations.

Know When To Go to the ER vs Urgent Care

I felt a lot of guilt headed to the ER with N for just a few stitches. It was clear there were many kids who needed care far more than he did.

However, the PA that stitched him up informed me that had we gone to a local urgent care they would have sent us over to the Children’s ER anyways. We found out that most of our local in-network urgent care centers will not do stitches for young children. Particularly head and face wounds. It ended up being the right decision to start at the ER.

However, knowing when to head to the ER and when to head to an urgent care can save you a lot of time/pain and frustration. Plus, many insurances have much lower urgent care co-payments.

Urgent cares are great for small broken bones that have not punctured the skin, low-grade burns, the flu, and other sicknesses, sprains, strains, and other small ailments that cannot wait until regular doctor hours.

ER is for: life and death situations, infants that are very sick, young children who need stitches (particularly head and face), large broken bones, severe illness, possible heart problems.

Have a Communication Method

One of the things we have set up as a couple is a method of communicating even when we can’t communicate. It has served us well in our relationship and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Setup a Clear Communication System with Your Spouse

We have a system for when I call Hubby at work and he can’t answer. After he either misses my call or dismisses it, I have three options. I can not do anything, letting him know I was just calling for an unimportant/low importance reason. If I text him right after, I am indicating that he needs to call me as soon as he can. Last, I can call again. If I call a second time right away that is his cue that he needs to get back to me right NOW! That this is not something that can wait.

This system works really well for us because he is not always able to even look at his phone to see that I am calling. A text right after the call lets him know that I really need to talk to him. A second call lets him know without even looking that we are having a family emergency and I cannot wait.

Have a Backup Communication Method

This is system is wonderful until something breaks from routine. Occasionally he forgets his phone in his car, or it’s buried under a pile paperwork and he doesn’t hear it. He might even just be distracted and not notice the vibrations.

We have a backup plan for those emergency situations when I cannot get ahold of him. I call his supervisor. He works the kind of job where this is an appropriate backup plan. However, your spouse may not work in an environment where this is appropriate. Maybe there is a trusted coworker or reception area that you can call in a situation where you need to get a hold of your spouse.

It’s important to have a backup plan for those random situations where you absolutely need to communicate. Keep in mind, I am not calling his supervisor unless I am taking a kid to the hospital AND it’s more than just a broken arm. I have to believe I cannot handle the situation on my own in order to be calling his supervisor instead of waiting for him to get ahold of me.

Have an Agreed-Upon Plan if Communication Fails

We have agreed that if I have exhausted all means of communication and still cannot reach him that I am to call in my family to help me. Someone in my family is already probably watching my other kids at this point, but I can call someone else to come be with me. We believe that when possible we should face these situations as a couple. However, sometimes life doesn’t allow for that and our families are wonderful in stepping up to help.

Obviously, part of our plan if I can’t reach him is to get our children the care they need on my own. That can be a scary reality to face but it’s one I have crossed before and will cross again I am sure. It’s just about making it through one moment at a time in those emergency situations.

An Everyday Emergency Plan Keeps Everyone Calm

If you learn anything from my experiences with N over the last few weeks learn this. Creating a well thought out everyday emergency plan ahead of time will bring calm to an otherwise stressful situation. Having decisions of where to go and what to do in various situations gives you the direction you need to move forward calmly.

It doesn’t take long to create an emergency plan for these everyday situations but it can save a lot of stress and frustration when the time comes to use it.

Emergency Preparedness for Everyday Emergencies being prepared when you have small children 3 pictures of small first aid kits

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