How many of you take your kids camping? If you are like me, your kids are one of the main reasons you go camping. I feel that camping teaches kids to enjoy the outdoors, responsibility, respect for others, and many more things that are important for making a good adult. While taking your own kids camping is no big deal, just remember to take their medications, past medical history information and insurance cards.
However, how many of you like to take your grandchildren camping? Or do you let your kids bring a friend along now and then? What happens when they fall off that rock in camp and hurt their wrist? Do you wait till you go home or do you take them to the Emergency Department? I hate to say this but what right do you have to take them to the Emergency Department?
Think about it, only a parent or guardian is able to sign for treatment of a minor. As a grandparent or as just the parent of your kids’ friends you don’t have the right to sign that minor in for treatment. Most hospitals are able to do emergency, life saving treatment to stabilize a minor patient. Beyond that they want the proper authorization for treatment. That and insurance information.
That is where a consent form or a “Parental Medical Consent” form comes into play. You really need to have a form that gives you the right to sign for treatment of these minors. Someone is trusting you with The Very Most Important thing in their Lives, their child!
So Lets review what you need when you take children not your own camping:
Medications, know what they take and what for and how to give it to them. Do they take them at bed time with milk or should they be given in the morning 2 hours after eating?
Allergies, Are they going to be able to eat your prize winning peanut butter fondue? Are they allergic to aspirin? Can you bring your cat or dog along? What about Bees?
Past Medical history, should include any surgeries, childhood shots and any other medical problems.
Insurance information, Please take copies along with you when you take kids. If nothing else, it makes you look like you know what you are doing and, to be honest, keeps you from being billed for any necessary treatment.
Parental Medical Consent form, as with last week your local hospital will have forms (for Free!) that you should have the parents sign that give you the right (and responsibility!) to authorize treatment for these children. You should also have them give you all the contact information they can furnish: cell phones, home phone family, anywhere they might be! (Most forms will have spaces for this information) If the parents won’t give you the above information and authorization as much as I hate to say it but in these days of sue happy people, maybe you should just not take them with you.
Now that I have scared the daylights out of you, just remember these parents are trusting you with something, which is in most cases more important to them than their own lives, their children. Show that you are just as responsible as they are trusting you to be and be prepared. And, to be honest, if you take your significant other camping, you might want to fill out a “Medical Power of Attorney”, both of you should have this for each other, just to be on the safe side. Heck on a trip you should probably have either one of these forms for everyone on the trip, just so medical care and treatment can be begun till the proper person can be contacted and arrive on scene.
Your Obedient Servant,
Gary Smith, Jr.