Nanny Knowledge: Medical Emergencies on the Job

Chirp Connecting Families and Nannies LLC We all know that with children, any situation is possible. No matter how closely you're watching a child, there is still a chance they could hurt themself one way or another. Bumped heads, scraped knees and other minor injuries are all part of the process of growing up. But when nannies are on the job, how can they differentiate between a minor injury and something that needs more serious medical attention?

Chirp’s Emergency Preparedness forms paint a clear picture for nannies, and provide a basis to open a dialogue between parents and nannies on what procedures to follow should any type of medical emergency arise.

Chirp has identified three levels of medical emergencies that can occur with children and provides an overview of how to handle each level. We’ve also contacted local pediatrician, and concierge medical practitioner Diana Montgomery, M.D. to get her thoughts on communicating medical emergencies between parents and nannies.

Level I: The Expectable Bumps and Bruises of Daily Life

Small cuts, bruises and scrapes are to be expected as a child goes about their daily routines. For these minor injuries, nannies should know where to locate the first aid supplies and know how to use everything, most importantly the thermometer.

Nannies and parents should discuss in advance whether this type of minor injury warrants a call to the parents, or if reporting the injury when the parents arrive home is sufficient.

“It depends on the relationship between the parents and the nanny, but in the beginning, I think it’s always better to err on the side of over-communication,” Dr. Montgomery says.

Level II: Child’s Health Requires Immediate Attention

Sudden changes in a child’s health can occur at any time. An injury, fever or other non-life threatening emergency may mean a trip to the hospital or pediatrician’s office is in store.

“Any new symptom—fever, rash, runny nose, cough—that wasn’t there when the parents left, should be reported to the parents so that they are in the loop and can decide whether the child needs medication or if they want to see their pediatrician,” Dr. Montgomery says. “Additionally, the following things warrant a call to the parent right away: a child who is ‘out of it’ or hard to arouse normally, a child who is bleeding, any accident where the child seems injured or they hit their head, refusal or inability to take fluids orally, decreased urination or severe abdominal pain.”

For this level of medical care, it may be up to the nanny to get the child to a medical facility immediately. In this instance, it’s extremely important for nannies to have a Emergency Medical Treatment form signed by the parents, authorizing her to seek medical treatment for the child before the parents arrive. Nannies should know where the pediatrician’s office and after-hours clinic is located. Chirp suggests the nanny’s name is placed in the child’s file so she is known to be the responsible adult if the parents cannot be there.

Level III: 911 Call

We all hope this situation will never happen to us, but there may come a time when a situation is life threatening. In this case, nannies should recognize that the only appropriate course of action is to call 911. Nannies should first call 911, report the problem and get the child immediate medical attention before contacting the parents.

For more information about how nannies and families can be prepared for medical emergencies, click here for a packet of emergency forms provided by Chirp for your child’s safety.

For more information about Dr. Montgomery’s concierge medical practice, call her office at 415-830-3090.