When you are preparing for your dream vacation, just you and your honey on the trip of your dreams, with Grandma or Best Friend taking care of your children, you will have much greater peace of mind if you provide the person caring for your child with certain important documents and information. If you do not take such precautions, your dream time together may end up being a nightmare where you are caught far away from home with the care giver unable to do some very basic acts which could allow your trip to continue without interruption or inconvenience. These issues can be avoided by proper planning.
1. Provide a list with contact information for the doctor, dentist, school, day care, extracurricular activities, or other persons whom the care giver may need to contact.
2. Provide a list of any medications your child is taking and how they are to be administered. List all the child’s allergies or medical conditions and what to do in the event a problem occurs.
3. Leave a copy of your health insurance card or all necessary policy information.
4. Provide both the school and day care and any other places where your child will be on a regular basis with the name of the person who will be caring for your child and provide the caretaker with the appropriate documents to be able to pick up your children.
5. Provide an information sheet about your child: customary bed time, favorite foods, fears, likes and dislikes, friends with the parent’s name and phone number,
6. Provide a copy of your itinerary with flight information, hotel information, and a way to contact you in the event of an emergency.
7. Finally, and most important, you need to provide the care giver with a Power of Attorney and Appointment of Temporary Custodian. This document will allow the care giver to take care of your children on a day to day basis and to do the following:
• pick up your child from school or day care
• provide medical attention in an emergency
• sign necessary permission slips for school trips
• do such actions as a parent could if the parent were present (this is a kind of catch all for those things you don’t think of but which happen, such as your 15 year old son being caught by the police drinking a beer, and the police want the parent to come pick up the child,)
By signing the Power of Attorney and Appointment of Temporary Guardian form, the parent is allowing the caretaker to have temporary custody of the child and authorizing the caretaker to do all acts which the parent could do if the parent were present. It is important to consider the person to whom you are giving this authorization. How much power do you wish that person to have? Many people wish to limit the right to provide medical care to emergency situations, however, since the definition of “emergency” is a medical term which may be vastly different than your idea of what constitutes an emergency, a better limiting provision would be to allow the care giver to authorize all “reasonably necessary and appropriate” medical care. Most forms have a specific provisions that the caretaker may not make decisions regarding withholding life sustaining procedures. Obviously, you do not want this very necessary form to be permanent, however, since travel can have unexpected delays, you do not want to put in a date certain. We suggest that you put in a starting date and put the ending date as “continuing in nature until our return, at which time it expires.”
With all your parenting responsibilities covered, you can enjoy a worry free vacation and your care giver can rest easy knowing that the care giver can do whatever is required to keep your children healthy and safe.