Items and Information to Have on Hand

by Audrey Paul, MD, PhD, FACEP , Karen Goodman, MD, and Catherine Verow, MS, CCLS

Normal temperature in a newborn generally ranges from 97ºF to 100.3ºF (36ºC – 38ºC). Any number above or below these should be checked.  No one wants to think about an emergency, but taking a moment to assemble simple items and information now, can be extremely helpful in the event of an emergency where you have to think fast, act fast, and head to an Emergency Room.

Similar to preparing a bag for yourself for the hospital, prior to baby’s delivery, it’s prudent to keep a “just in case” baby bag handy for emergency use. Hopefully you won’t need it! Items to pack in your emergency bag include:

For Baby:

  • Pacifiers
  • Baby bottles
  • Correctly sized diapers and changing gear
  • A change of clothes
  • A rattle, stuffed animal and soothing blanket similar to what they are familiar with and comforted by
  • A swaddling blanket, if you use one

For Parents:

  • A change of clothing
  • A breast pump if you might need one (hospitals can provide these but usually not immediately)
  • A non-perishable snack, particularly important for post partum/breastfeeding moms
  • Contact information for family, friends for information and support
  • Contact information for a baby sitter (if needed for an older child)
  • A card for your infant or child with medical information that will be helpful to both you and to hospital staff during an emergency visit – and also alleviate stress
  • A reminder note to yourself to request the following as soon as possible after your arrival in the ER:
  1. “Sweeties” solution:  This is an oral analgesic available in a pacifier form to help alleviate some pain and anxiety in the newborn. If it is not available, you can create your own sweeties type by dipping the pacifier or your finger in a sugar water solution and giving it to the baby to suck prior to a painful procedure.
  2. Numbing Cream: If your baby has a fever, a spinal tap is likely to be ordered. Ask if a numbing cream for the back is available immediately, so that it has time to start working.

Remember that parental anxiety can be passed onto your infant and increase the baby’s anxiety as well. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your child will be. You can help create a relaxed environment by being prepared.