Since it is cold and flu season it is a good time to review proper practices and helpful tips when dealing with health care providers, parents, and sick children.
As with all things that a nanny or au pair does, preparation is essential. You should know where the hospital, the doctor, and the pharmacy are located, how to get to them and their phone numbers, as well as the numbers for the police and emergency transportation. Be aware that contacting 911 from a mobile phone may or may not connect you to local police. Be aware of how 911 works in your locality.
The parent should provide the nanny or au pair with written permission allowing the caregiver to seek treatment, to authorize treatment, and to discuss treatment with health care providers. The parent should also provide insurance information or other payment options to allow the child to get proper care without delay. The nanny should also insist on an emergency phone number or signal so the parent can be quickly notified in event of an emergency.
The nanny or au pair should be able to assist the doctor, nurse, emergency medical technician, or other health care provider with vital information regarding the child. The au pair or nanny helps when she is aware of allergies, medications, or other substances used to treat the child, and pre-existing medical conditions. Be sure to include vitamins, herbs, or anything else that might impact diagnosis or treatment. Most importantly, as the advocate and person responsible for the child, you should be able to describe symptoms, the intensity of the ailment, and the temperament of the child.
A well-stocked medicine cabinet is essential for first aid and minor health issues. First, check the expiration dates and make sure all products are fresh. If not, dispose and replace the medications.
Basic Medicine Cabinet Should Include:
- mild soap
- hydrogen peroxide
- bandages and gauze
- triple antibiotic ointment
- alcohol, witch hazel
- liquid acetaminophen
- liquid antihistamine
- liquid antacid
- saline solution
- ice bag
- petroleum jelly
- anything else your charges need for recurring problems.
Discard any children’s cough syrup unless specifically and recently prescribed. The FDA has determined that they are ineffective and potentially harmful. This list is not all-inclusive but should give you a head start on being ready for many minor problems.
Going to the doctor or dentist? Prepare the patient. If the child is going to get a shot, tell her so and that it will hurt for a while like a pinch or mosquito bite but that it is good and it is necessary.
A tooth being extracted? Ask the dentist if you might need to give the child a pain killer before going to the office.
Finally, be prepared to take control, show your calm confident demeanor so you can reassure an upset child-or parent.
Have the parents you work for signed an authorization to treat form giving you consent to make decisions in case of emergency involving the children?