Read this article to learn how to keep your baby’s health records, why is it necessary and what great benefits it will bring to you.
It’s midnight and your baby is miserable. She’s running a fever, pulling on her ear and screaming. You recognize the signs of an ear infection, so you pick up the phone to call the pediatrician. After explaining your child’s symptoms to the employee at the answering service, you try to comfort your baby while you wait for the doctor on duty to call you back.
Take a look at this article about fever in babies : Fever in Babies: Symptoms and Treatment
Finally the phone rings, but the pediatrician who calls has never seen your child. “I’ll call in a prescription for an antibiotic,” he says. “Is your child allergic to any medications?”
“When she had her last ear infection, there was an antibiotic that gave her horrible diarrhea and a rash,” you reply, struggling to hear the doctor over your baby’s cries.
“Which antibiotic was that?” the doctor asks.
Your brain is still fuzzy from being awakened, and you can’t think with your sick baby screaming in your ear. The name of the antibiotic won’t come to you. “I don’t remember,” you say.
The Importance of Keeping Records
Even the most conscientious parents find themselves in a situation like this at least once. And since children often get sick in the middle of the night or at other times when their medical records aren’t available, it’s important for parents to have their child’s medical information at home – and close at hand.
“In this day and age, kids receive health care in a variety of settings,” says Dr. Marlon M., medical director of a children hospital in Palm Coast, Florida. While the majority of health care takes place in the pediatrician’s office, children are also treated in the emergency room, acute care clinics or even over the phone. “When care is provided someplace other than the pediatrician’s office, the child’s records are not always immediately available to the physician treating the child,” he says.
That’s where parents come in. “You have to be an active participant in your baby’s health care,” says Stacy DeBroff, author of Sign Me Up! The Parents’ Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes, and Other Extracurriculars. “There are critical times with a baby when you need the information about your baby’s health history at your fingertips.”
What You Need
DeBroff advises designating a folder for your baby’s medical information and keeping it by the phone. “If it’s always in the same place, you will find it easily,” she says. “It will be right there when you need to call the doctor and you can grab it as you go to the doctor’s office or the emergency room.”
You also can keep track of medical records in a three-ring binder, a notebook or a record-keeping book specifically designed for this purpose. No matter which method you choose, keep in mind that you don’t need an elaborate system, just one that will work for you.
What to Include
Now that you have the reasons to keep track of your baby’s health records and someplace to write them down, what should you record? Everything that pertains to baby’s health.
“It’s hard to think clearly and remember details, especially when baby is sick,” says DeBroff. You may think you’ll remember every detail of your baby’s stomach virus, but as time goes by, your memory will fade.
Here are some records that all parents should keep readily available:
- Immunizations – You will need these records when it’s time to register your child for school, sports teams or other activities. Note the date, year and type of vaccine, as well as any reactions your child experienced.
- Illnesses – “Keep track of any illness significant enough to warrant a doctor’s visit,” says Dr. Bessie F., director of primary care at a university’s children’s medical center. “This way, you can see if a pattern is developing.”
- Medications – Record the names of any medications your child has taken, both temporarily and ongoing. Also, write down the dosage, any reactions your child may have had and the effectiveness of the medicine.
- Allergies – Include any allergies to foods, drugs, insect bites, etc. “Also note the type of allergic reaction your child has,” says Dr. Marlon. “This information can be important for future precautions and treatments.”
- Surgeries or Hospital Stays – Be sure to include any surgeries or hospital stays, along with the nature of the illness or injury. Where and by whom was baby treated?
- Doctors’ Names – Write down the names of any specialists your child sees, along with the dates seen and reasons for the visit.
- Injuries – Include any significant or recent injuries.
- Developmental Milestones – Record when your baby first starts babbling, rolling over, crawling and pulling herself up to standing. These can help your health care provider determine if development is occurring as expected.
- Dental History – Keep track of when – and in what order – teeth appear, any dental problems and visits to the dentist. Also, check our article to learn more : Things to do in the Stages of Teething in Babies
In addition to these records, you also should include all contact numbers for parents, doctors, daycare providers, grandparents or anyone else who cares for your child. “All care providers should also have an updated copy of the health record,” says Dr. Marlon. “This will provide seamless delivery of care to the child.”
Keep Track of Questions
Whether you use a folder, notebook or other method, your health record will come in handy for writing down any questions you want to ask the pediatrician. “In between doctor visits, jot down questions you want to ask at the next checkup,” says Dr. Bessie.
DeBroff agrees it’s important to have a place to write your questions. “Then take your records with you to the doctor’s office and write down the answers as you talk to the doctor,” she says.
The written record of these questions and answers often proves to be a valuable resource and won’t be subject to the power of your memory – which may not be working at its best if you are juggling a fussy baby while receiving instructions.
It may seem like a lot of work to keep track of your baby’s health records, but it really doesn’t take much time at all. “It takes three seconds to jot down the information,” says DeBroff. “If you just invest the time to have a place to put it, it really works.”
In fact, the most difficult part of keeping tabs on your infant’s health records may simply be getting started. Establishing a system, however, will make it painless to pen additions to baby’s health records.
Your efforts will pay off the next time your baby is sick, and you have all the information you need at your fingertips.
Our articles are prepared to give advice. Always consult your doctor first for any problems and exact information.
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons.