ABC's of Back to School: Are you filling out your child's emerge - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

ABC's of Back to School: Are you filling out your child's emergency card correctly?

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FLINT (WJRT) - (09/04/14) - Parents, you know those 'official emergency cards' you are asked to fill out at the start of each school year?

It turns out, some common mistakes can put your child's safety at risk.

"It probably does not get the importance that it needs," said Dr. Kenneth Wilson, chief of Pediatric Trauma at Hurley Medical Center.

"That information that we have on student's is critical," said Holly Halabicky, executive director of student services at Davison Community Schools.

That information includes allergies, hospitals, doctors and the "just in case" phone numbers you list to call in those worst case scenarios.

But are you sure that your child's emergency contact card is accurate enough to count on when the unthinkable happens? Each year, many of them are filled with information that isn't up to date or appropriate.

"Nowadays, cell phone numbers change so quickly, people don't have land lines, and kids don't memorize their phone numbers anymore," Halabicky said.

Two years ago, Davison Community Schools switched to a computerized system that holds each student's information, but secretaries are still at the mercy of parents to keep it updated.

When the school needs to use it, a form is printed out and sent in the ambulance with a student, and many times, school's will call every contact listed only to find no response or disconnected numbers.

"That's a very serious problem. That child is now, the decisions are being made by the building administrator. The building administrator is going to make the very best decision they can with the information they have. This is your precious child, you want to be the one making that decision.

In cases like this, every second counts. Emergency responders will rush your child to the hospital you have listed there, but not all hospitals have a pediatric unit.

"Other hospitals in the area don't admit and care for kids in the hospital. So many times children are transported to other facilities, where they ultimately need to be transferred to us," said Dr. Mark Wilkerson, of the emergency department at Hurley Medical Center.

"Sometimes that child get's here too late," Wilson said.

Hurley is the only Level II Pediatric Trauma Center in Genesee County, and the only with a pediatric intensive care unit. Many parents don't know that when they provide schools with emergency preferences.

"Injuries can range from the very minor to severe, and when you fill that out, you should always consider that the injury can actually be severe," Wilson said.

We've asked both the hospital and the school for some advice. Here's what you should remember:

- If the school needs to call 911 on behalf of your child, it's a trauma.

- List emergency contacts that can get to your child within 30 minutes or less and list as many people as you can, printing clearly.

"If you are not sure if you've got the up to date information, it is very easy, you call your building, you ask them for a print out. Get into the driver's seat of your child's safety," Halabicky said.
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