Family Management in Emergency Situations – Legos Optional

I am the mom of four boys from ages 1- 14. I can confidently say that over the years I have learned a thing or two. Or, maybe I should say I’ve realized how much I didn’t know and wasn’t prepared for? That sounds more like it.

I’m sure you can imagine the trips we’ve made to the ER in the middle of the night or the middle of the day… whenever the occasion arises. I’m sure you’ve been there yourself a time or two. A need to make the trip is enough to invoke stress, but the process soon to come is enough to put a mom over the edge. Social security numbers, shot records, insurance cards, medical history, allergies, past surgeries, date of birth, emergency phone numbers and you haven’t even seen the doctor yet.

Then the fumbling through the purse and phone calls home to find certain documents begins to ensue. How many times have you watched someone else do this or maybe you’ve done it yourself? I know I have done it too many times to count. The last time it happened we were in the emergency room because my second oldest had stuck a Lego man up his nose. No, that was not a typo. If you’re laughing now you should have seen the legs hanging out. If I hadn’t been so irritated trying to figure out where his social security card was I might have laughed myself.

Back to the point of this article.

I decided that day that I would find a way to streamline the whole emergency process. What I have now is an evolution of what I began 9 years ago. Over time I’ve tweaked it to make it more efficient and effective for our family. I hope that our experience can benefit you too.

Here is our Life Management Binder. Though it contains more than just emergency information I can assure you that is the main reason one might need it. The one instance when saving time is crucial is during an emergency situation.

life management binder notebook

On the inside front cover of this binder is where all of the emergency phone numbers are kept. Fire, ambulance, police, doctors, family and such are all located here. I also have our home address, phone number, and names and birthdays on this page. This is beneficial for the kids or a babysitter. If they ever have to call 911 to report an incident then the information they need is at their fingertips. It also helps moms when you are in shock because your kid just drank anointing oil and you have to call poison control. Yes, it could happen.

Within the binder I have business card holders that I use for storing the kids social security and insurance cards.

Each child has a “Quick Stats” sheet. I update this sheet once a year. On it I have a recent photo, the child’s fingerprints, and important information like date of birth, height/weight, allergies, medical conditions and such. I made this one is Microsoft Word but you can use any program to create it and make it as pretty or plain as you like.

I keep these quick stats sheets in a page protector. Behind this sheet I keep copies of other things that are relevant to that child: birth certificate, shot records, medical documents and anything else we may need. These days when an emergency occurs I am organized enough to streamline the process and get to back to loving on my babies while waiting to be seen. This would have been very helpful nine years ago when my then three year old walked around the waiting room showing everyone his “booger soldier” except that because he had this thing in his nose it sounded more like “move over”. The more people looked at him like “what did you say?” the louder he got.  I’m fairly certain some of the old ladies were scared of him. No, I’m not kidding.

child quick stats facts sheet

So please learn from our mistakes. Lego soldiers have been sacrificed to bring this information to you. Get a family binder and load it with the emergency information you will need. Teach your kids how to use it and keep it in a spot where it is accessible to everyone. You can even take it with you on family trips and vacations. It is well worth the time to put it together.

If you would like to download the pdf for reference you may do so here: Quick Stat Sheet Reference.  You can also find more posts and printables from the author: Home Management Binder.

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  • http://twitter.com/Jess_Reflects Jessica Mueller

    Amy, I love this! I’ve been trying for awhile now to have all our important documents and info gathered together, but have yet to finish. In the last month, I searched the house for one of my son’s insurance cards 5 minutes before a doctor’s appointment only to find it hidden in my wallet later. Go figure.

    Thanks for the resources!

    • http://www.facebook.com/amybayliss Amy Grant Bayliss

      Hey, Jessica! I know what you mean about chasing down insurance cards. I think we’ve all been there. :)

  • Kristinking1981

    Thanks so much for this Amy! Luckily my almost 3 year old and 8 month old haven’t had to be rushed to the emergency room yet but after reading this I am definitely going to get myself prepared for something that is bound to happen some time in the futue. I would much rather cuddle my babies in their time of need than stress over not having the information that I need.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amybayliss Amy Grant Bayliss

      Hi, Kristin! I think preparation is key… that and keep all of the legos away from little noses. :)

  • Heather

    Great idea!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/amybayliss Amy Grant Bayliss

      Thanks, Heather!

  • Arnett and Crystal Eubanks

    Oh my goodness I love this idea. Especially since we live overseas and you just never know when you’ll get a call in the middle of the night saying that you need to leave NOW! I do have one question, now this is my paranoid, former banker self but do you worry about someone stealing your Social Security cards?? I mean, with this book they are right there, easily accessible. Even though, honestly I can’t think of a better place to keep them that would be safer, except maybe in a safe. Any thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Crystal! I was thinking the same thing. I think for anyone that is concerned about it, I would just put the binder in the safe, or in a “hiding spot”. The purpose of it is to have it all together when you need it in an emergency, so it wouldn’t really matter where it was kept. Those are just my thoughts on it. And I love the binder too! Thanks Amy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/amybayliss Amy Grant Bayliss

    That is a good question, Crystal! I’ll start by saying my husband is in a line of work that tracks and prosecutes identity thieves and in the majority of cases the SS numbers were stolen from doctors offices, schools, banks, and other similar places that collect the numbers. A larger number are now being taken by hackers who get into government systems. Even though that is the case we still take caution when having them in our binder but really it is no different than having them in your wallet or purse. And we have to carry them with us because copies are required for too many services and offices these days. But, when I take my binder out with me it is in my locked lap bag (carries my iPad and binder). I don’t typically have a sitter unless it is a family member so that isn’t a problem either. I guess if I did have someone in the house who had access to it but that I didn’t particularly trust then I’d put the cards away. We also have a service that tracks our numbers in case they are stolen.

    The solution that my husband and I ultimately have come to is that we need to do what we can to make things best for us. We can’t live in fear over things like this. We do what we can to protect ourselves and trust God to take care of the rest. I realize this won’t be an option for everyone and if they prefer to not put the cards or numbers in there then that is totally fine. You have to do what works best for you. :)

  • Sharon W

    What a fantastic idea! I’ve only been to Urgent Care with my daughter so far (for a fever caused by strep throat) but it was so frustrating. Having to wait and wait and wait! I love this idea of having everything at your finger tips! I know where my daughters social security card etc are, but my husband would have to hunt for them for a bit before he found them. And, yes, if you are in a very stressful situation, it can be hard to remember your own name! I can’t wait to make my own binder. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amybayliss Amy Grant Bayliss

      Yes, urgent care is another great example and you are very welcome! :)

  • Karen

    I loved this idea…I have rushed to the hospital more than one time..and when you are in shock and they ask you a million questions, and you are petrified that you are going to lose your child…the last thing you want is all the questions! I am so thankful that you wrote this! As mum to six sons, there have been many times that I needed to have this in my arms and not just in my head!

  • http://www.singingthroughtherain.com Kathryn

    Great ideas!

  • http://www.raisingarrows.net Amy @ Raising Arrows

    Yes! This is exactly the kind of thing I encourage moms to put together when I speak at conferences on Homeschooling During Crisis. Even if you forget to bring it with you to the emergency room, you can easily call and say, “Grandma, grab the emergency folder beside the phone and tell me what Child A’s social security number is.” Love your Quick Stat sheet!

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  • Sandy Davis

    Wow! I never thought of doing this, but boy do I need it. I came here via Pinterest, by the way.

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  • lisa

    This is perfect, I have been struggling with how to organize ss cards, passport cards, shot records, etc.
    The one thing I’m nervous about is keeping the insurance cards in the binder instead of my wallet. Do you take this with you on vacations? ‘What If’ something happens while you are out and away from home?
    Also, do you have to worry about things sliding out? I was trying to use a zippered covered binder, but it is really bulky.
    Thank you!

    • Andrachel

      You can keep a copy of insurance cards in either your wallet, or the book. Don’t believe they have to have the original, just the info off of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christine-Bash-Roeske/1153891036 Christine Bash Roeske

    I have our SSN saved as phone numbers in my cell phone. Health insurance has its own listing with group number and id number and phone number, same for mental health coverage provider and rx provider. Also have our car license plate numbers as their own listing. Need to snap pics of passports and keep them on my phone as well.

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