One of the most important pieces of information my mother shared with me was a little piece of paper that we all hope we never have to use, but should always have for our kids when they are away from us – An Emergency Medical Release. also known as a Consent to Treat a Minor.
In the U.S., (I can’t speak for other countries on this one), but here in the U.S., a parent or legal guardian must consent to medical treatment for a minor.
If we’re not going to be with our children, it’s a wise idea to have the supervising adult who is with them have a Emergency Medical Release for your child, and/or have your child carry an Emergency Medical Release card in their wallet or pocket.
My mom had me carry one my entire young adult years. But I never had to use it, thankfully.
But, whenever my kids are away on a trip without me, I make sure they have an emergency medical release. Usually with organized events, like with Boy Scouts or Youth Group, the medical release is part of the paperwork. So no big deal.
But when the kids travel, like my boys just did to Oregon, I also make up the paperwork for them to carry and paperwork for them to give to the adults that I’m trusting with their care.
For example, both my boys have in their pockets or wallets, a folded, laminated index card that includes:
- their full name
- date of birth
- parents names
- parent’s cell phone numbers
- insurance information
- medical allergy information
- a short emergency only medical release
- the date range the medical release is good for
- my signature and date.
Having this available on their persons means that emergency personnel can provide treatment even if a supervising adult is not available. If your children are by themselves, like I was often as a teenager, this can be valuable to ensure emergency care before you can be reached.
But because the boys are going to be gone for two weeks, and you never know what can occur. I also opted to authorize General and Emergency medical decision making for a specific period of time to three named persons: My Father, My Mother, and one of my adult younger brothers.
I printed and signed three copies of the same Authorization for Medical Treatment form, so that each of them can carry a copy of the form in their wallet. That way if there was an emergency, no one had to take the time to scramble to find the paperwork, they can just head for the doctor’s.
Here’s some of the info that an Authorization or Consent for Medical Treatment should contain:
- Your full name
- Your relationship to the child
- The child’s full name
- a statement that authorizes medical treatment (and what type) to specific individuals
- The full names of the authorized individuals
- The date range or end date that authorization is good for
- emergency contact information for yourself and the other parent or legal guardian.
- Primary Physician’s name and contact phone number
- Insurance Company’s name, policy number, and group number. (sending a copy of the insurance cards is a good idea as well)
- Patient’s Date of Birth
- Any allergies medical personnel should be aware of. If none, specifically write: No Medical Allergies.
- Your full signature and the date of signature.
That’s the minimum information. For an extra dose of measure, having your signature notarized may be helpful. Most banks provide notary service for free for their customers.
While the boys were in Oregon, there was a minor incident where J ended up needing a few stitches. So we actually got to test this exact example out, in a real life situation, without a notary signature and it worked just fine.
There is certainly more information medical professionals will need, and they will ask your child or call you. In my case, my son knew the answers so no one from the hospital needed to call me.
But think about pertinent medical information that applies to your family and include it. Do you waive immunizations? Definitely want to include that info. Just be smart and help your child get the care they need by providing the info needed.
No one wants their child injured, especially while they are away. But even worse would be if your child couldn’t receive the medical care they needed in a timely manner. A little bit of precaution is better than regrets later.
Feel free to copy my wording to type up your own Authorization for Medical Treatment, or search online for “Emergency Medical Release” or “Medical consent form” for some other great examples.