I can’t tell you how many times I have stared at a form in a doctor’s office thinking, “When did he start eating solid food? What will happen if I put the wrong answer? What did I write on the last form?” As parents we are constantly asked about our kids’ developmental (and other) milestones. And if you are like me, your mommy-brain sometimes forgets every little detail. And the older my son gets, the foggier my memory of his earliest moments is. I can only imagine how confused I’d be if I had more than one kid. Don’t worry- I remember the big ones, like when my kiddo started walking, but I couldn’t tell you how old he was the first time he went to the dentist. Nobody warned me that part of motherhood was remembering every little detail about my child’s history. But don’t worry, you don’t need to remember every little detail because I’m going to let you in on a little tool that will allow you to let those little details fall out of your brain: the medical binder.
I didn’t hear about medical binders until my son was diagnosed with autism. This is a tool that parents in the special needs community know all about, but I really think it’s a tool any mom could find helpful. The first time I put our binder together I remember thinking, “Where has this been for the past 3 years? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?” So I hope some of you mammas find it useful.
Here is the basic concept: your child’s medical binder is where you keep all of the information related to your child’s medical care, i.e. shot records, doctors’ visits, milestones, medications…everything! This binder goes with you to appointments so that when you’re asked that obscure question you don’t remember the answer to, you have the answer right at your fingertips.
Supplies you’ll need to put your medical binder together:
- Binder – size depends on your child’s age and medical needs, we have a pretty big binder (actually, multiple binders), but most children could probably use just a .5 inch or 1 inch binder
- Binder divider tabs
- Binder sheet protectors
- Notebook paper- for notes!
Here are the tabs we have in our binder:
- Basic Info/Copy of Insurance Card
- Shot record
- Milestones– You can use the linked PDF that the CDC created and just write in dates for when your child reaches certain milestones.
- Any time the kiddo gets sick I write down the date, symptoms, and course of action.
- Doctor visits
- Any time we visit the doctor I write down the date, symptoms discussed, diagnoses, and recommended treatment.
- Medical Procedures
- Dates and details of any procedures- example, tubes in ears, etc.
- Dates of visits and any notable problems
And then you can add other tabs for your child’s needs. We have tabs for occupational therapy, speech therapy, IEP’s, and other autism-related things. Be sure to always keep paper in the binder so you can make notes. Now all you have to do is remember where you put the binder!
Do you use a medical binder for your children?