In the Event of an Emergency

Melissa Schlemmer by Melissa Schlemmer Additional Needs

Melissa Schlemmer

Melissa Schlemmer

Currently I am trying to juggle life with an infant, 7 year old, and a nearly 5 year old with special needs. Life is all kinds of crazy, but we are...

There is rarely a time when we can sit back, take a deep breath, and say, “All is right in our world.”

Lately I have been thinking more and more about what would happen if I was in a car accident. How would I know that our son would receive the best care and attention he needs?

I am his voice, and what would happen if I was unable to be that for him in that moment?

This may sound a bit crazy, but these are things we do need to think about as parents, especially parents of nonverbal and medically complex kids.

So instead of wondering and pondering I decided to write an email to our local police department.

A summary of the email is below:

Good afternoon,

I was wondering if someone could answer a few questions for me?

Our son is 4 years old, nonverbal, developmentally delayed, and medically complex. I was hoping someone could help me understand the best way to ensure he receives proper attention and care in the event of an emergency.

In the special needs community there are many parents that put magnets or stickers on their cars. Are these effective?

Do first responders even look around the car for anything that would identify a special need?

We have been told to put a sticker of some sort onto his car seat that lists his needs. Is this helpful? Is it even looked for?

Are medical ID straps attached to the seatbelt helpful? Is the best and most effective way simply a medical ID bracelet?

Off I sent my email and awaited a response.

Evening came and I received a voicemail from an officer asking if I could give him a call back.

Wow. I thought to myself, that’s great service.

A few minutes went by and then there was a knock on our door from a uniformed police officer wondering if it was a good time to talk?

He came in, sat on our couch, and we had a wonderful conversation regarding my email.

I’d like to share what I learned in the hopes it can help other parents who have the same concern as me!

1. ALL of the tools that give any information about your child are helpful.

2. Do not put any stickers on windows because they break.

3. Stickers are helpful, but should not be the only information available. What if you are hit where the sticker is and it’s illegible?

Not every officer is going to take the time to look around at each sticker right away in an emergency, since YOU are the first priority.

4. Medical ID bracelets are a must. Information such as diagnosis, emergency contacts, and specific hospital in which your child needs to be transported to are all helpful.

5. He has never seen a medical alert seat belt cuff but imagines it would be helpful; the only case it would likely not be is if first responders needed to cut your child out of their car seat in the event the car was upside down.

6. Your local police department can put your child's information into their system.

He has asked me to email him all of the necessary information about our son so if an officer in our county were to ever pull up my name there would be a section about “child safety,” since his medical ID bracelet can only give a few lines of information.

This is the list where I can be specific; low muscle tone, tube fed, blood clotting issues….etc;

To be honest, I cannot thank our local police department enough for taking the time to come out to our house, give our boys honorary police member stickers, and help me understand how to ensure our little guy is cared for in an emergency.

I encourage you to do the same!


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