Emergency Preparedness for Teens Home Alone

I have encouraged parents to put an In Case of Emergency (ICE) number into their children's cell phones, as well as some names of adults you trust to help in an emergency when the parents cannot be reached, but what I forgot was to encourage parents to program in the phone number of your local advice nurse.

As our teens get older and start staying at home alone, or with their siblings, stuff is going to happen, so help them be prepared. All teens should know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity to your home, as well as know where to find the emergency numbers for the utility company, police, and maybe a neighbor. I also recently learned the hard way that they should know to call the advice nurse at your doctor's office in case of a medical emergency.

The other day my teens were with their "other" parent, who lives in a rural area, and I did not realize they were alone when I answered my cell phone at work with, "hey there terrific kid, I just muted a conference call, so be quick." My eldest was silent a brief second and then asked for a friend's number, because she did not have her cell phone with her. I gave it to her, told her I loved her, and went back to my conference call. That night when I called to say goodnight, my youngest told me that she had experienced a nosebleed from hell that morning that resulted in the bathroom looking like a CSI crime scene, a blood clot that she had to spit out that left her dizzy and pale, and a couple of scared teenagers.

Oh my goodness, I could not believe that my oldest daughter had not told me what was happening when she called, just gotten the number of a local mom who she called, and all was good, but I could not believe she decided to "handle it," so my call would not be disturbed. We talked, the advice nurse number is now programmed in both cell phones, and my oldest is clear that parents need to know what is going on. However, I also realize that from her perspective - it was an adult-like moment - she was trying to honor the fact that I was busy and felt like she could handle it. Sweet girl, rotten idea.

So there you have it. Live and learn, and please give your kids the information they may need to handle a medical emergency.

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