Why School Emergency Contact Cards are Not Enough

As a majority of Michigan children begin school this week, there are a few things parents can put in place now that will help their children and themselves address an unexpected emergency situation if it should arise. Naming a short-term guardian for your children Filling out the emergency contact card the school requires is simply not enough, particularly if something happens to you. You, as the parent, are likely the named emergency contact person for the school, but if you are not available by reason of death, incapacity or otherwise, your child could be relinquished to the care of social services until the time guardianship is sorted out. Parents need to seriously consider naming someone as short-term guardian for their children so that confusion and legal hurdles are kept to a minimum during those panicked hours after an accident or illness that may leave the parents in a position of not being able to care for their children. The long-term guardian many parents name for their children in their will may not be located nearby. If this reflects your situation, consider naming a short-term guardian who has your legal authorization to take your child until you or the long-term guardian can arrive to care for your child. The short-term guardian should also be listed on your child's school emergency contact information. Leave detailed instructions for babysitters All babysitters should be provided with the detailed instructions of what to do in the event you do not return home, including the contact information of the short-term guardian. When parents make the time and effort to make these decisions and sign a legally-binding document that reflects who is to take care of their children when the unexpected happens, your children will be with the caring people you choose in the hours after an emergency rather than a stranger. Dan A. Penning