There may come a time when you’re called away from home—perhaps for work or a family emergency—and you must entrust your child to a guardian in your absence.

In an event like this, it’s likely you’ll tell the guardian about your child’s medical history and of any precautions they’ll have to take or procedures they’ll have to follow if the child gets sick or injured.

Of course, parents are hardwired with the desire to protect their children and can sometimes feel uneasy when surrendering their care to someone else. So, how can you confidently prepare a guardian to manage your child’s health and well-being when you’re away?

In this post, learn about the importance of a Child Medical Consent form and the possible outcomes of a situation without one.  

When Should You Use a Child Medical Consent Form?

You should use a Child Medical Consent form when you know you’ll be away from your child for an extended period of time. This could include time you spend away on a business trip, vacation, or caring for a sick family member or time your child spends traveling for a sports tournament, a school field trip, or away at summer camp.

If you’re going to be separated for a full day or more, it’s recommended you send a Child Medical Consent form to your child care provider so they are prepared for an emergency medical situation. With this form, your child care provider will be updated on all of your child’s medical information, including:

  • The child’s medical history (including health insurance information, medications, allergies, or illnesses)
  • The family doctor’s contact information
  • Any medical treatments that the child care provider is allowed to consent to (e.g. transportation by ambulance during a medical emergency)

A Child Medical Consent is especially important for children who have pre-existing medical conditions. For example, there are some illnesses (like anemia, kidney disease, or severe infections) that hinder a person’s ability to create healthy blood. As a result, this person might require blood transfusions at some point or on a regular basis.

If your child has a condition that may require special medical treatment, it’s imperative you grant your child care provider the power to authorize such treatment in your absence.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Child Medical Consent?

In many situations, a health care provider cannot provide medical treatment to a child without the informed consent of a parent or guardian. The exception is with medical emergencies, in which an emergency responder will decide if treatment is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. In this situation, it’s assumed that any reasonable person would also consent to the treatment.

However, when it comes to non-emergency situations, consent is generally considered to be an ongoing process. So, a person needs to be fully aware of the procedures and consequences of a treatment before they consent to it and they can withdraw that consent at any time if they choose. That being said, a Child Medical Consent form can be used to inform a health practitioner whether consent is or is not given.

For instance, there may be a child diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) who regularly attends behavior therapy and takes prescribed medication. The child’s parents are going away for a week and want the child to continue with his ADHD treatment, but they do not want the child to take any different or new medications while they’re away.

With a Child Medical Consent form, the parents may give a temporary guardian instruction on how to administer the child’s medication and permission to bring the child to and from therapy (some establishments do not allow anyone but the child’s legal guardian to take the child home, so in this case written permission is necessary). However, the parents can add a clause to the form that states the guardian is not allowed to pick up new prescriptions or administer any other medications for the child’s ADHD in their absence.

Without a Child Medical Consent, your child may temporarily be denied much needed medical treatments or possibly given a treatment that you don’t agree with.

Conversations to Have with Your Child Care Provider

There are a few questions you may want to ask a potential guardian to ensure they are capable of caring for your child in your absence.

First, you’ll want to know if the person is of legal age to provide consent (in many places, they’ll have to be at least 18 years old). It will also help to know whether or not the person shares your moral beliefs and is genuinely invested in your child’s well-being; this way, you’ll know you can trust this person to make medical decisions for your child that respect your wishes.

Once you’ve chosen a temporary guardian, you should explain the extent of powers granted in the Child Medical Consent. Tell the guardian exactly what’s expected of them (any treatments that must be administered) and for how long (the date on which their authority ends).

Going through this information with your child care provider gives them the opportunity to ask questions they might not have thought to ask. It can also prepare them to act swiftly and confidently should medical attention be required.

A Child Medical Consent benefits both the absent parents and the temporary caregiver: parents can relax knowing their child is being properly cared for, and caregivers have the information they need to deal with any medical issues that might arise.

Uphold Your Health Care Standards with a Child Medical Consent

A Child Medical Consent form is an excellent way to guarantee your child’s health will be properly cared for in your absence. It can advise a temporary guardian not only of any illnesses, allergies, or medical conditions your child might have, but also of any medical treatments your child may need to be healthy. Without a medical consent, your child might not have access to the health care they need or they might be given a treatment that goes against your wishes. 

Parents work hard to ensure their kids grow up safe and strong, whether it be something as simple as making sure their hands are washed or something more complicated like finding the right medication to treat an illness. Having a Child Medical Consent can reassure parents who have to be separated from their children that their hard work will be respected and carried on by another responsible adult.

Posted by Jasmine Roy

Jasmine has been writing for LawDepot since 2018. She is a writer with a passion for politics, law, and sociology. She's particularly interested in writing about real estate and family law.