Important Family Records

There are a number of records you need to keep for your baby. Keep these records in a safe place where you can find them when needed. It is a good idea to keep records in a fire-proof box.

Birth Certificate

Your baby's birth certificate is official proof of date of birth and citizenship. The birth certificate is needed to start school, to get a driver's license, or to apply for a passport. It may also be needed to prove the right to vote, marry, get Social Security benefits, and even to inherit property.

The staff at the hospital where your baby is born routinely register the birth with the local health department or registrar of births. If you have a home birth, be sure someone is responsible for registering the birth.

You will receive notice when the birth record is officially filed. This notice is usually a copy of the registration or the birth certificate. Check the information on it to make certain it is correct. Call the health department to find out what you need to do if you find any mistakes. Get any mistakes corrected right away.

Have several copies of the birth certificate made, and keep at least one in a safe place like a safety deposit box.

Social Security Number

Most hospitals will give you the paperwork you need to get a Social Security card and number for your baby. You can also get the form and instructions online at http://www.ssa.gov. A Social Security number is needed to be claimed as a dependent on your tax return, to open a bank account, or to buy savings bonds. Some schools and government agencies may also require that you provide this number.

Medical Records

Accurate medical records are important for all members of the family. They are useful when you apply for health and life insurance. They also help healthcare providers know if certain diseases run in your family.

Child's Medical Record

Key parts of your baby's medical record include:

  • Immunization (shot) card with exact dates and types of all vaccines. This is required for admission to school.
  • Allergies and any other special condition.
  • Any medicines your child takes.
  • Any injuries, including date and age when they happened and any treatment your child received.
  • Hospitalizations with dates, diagnoses, and treatments.
  • Screening Tests, including any tests to check your child's vision, and hearing, and any allergy testing.

Family Medical Records

In addition to your child's medical record, the family medical record should also include:

  • Healthcare providers and contact information
  • Insurance information
  • Advanced directives (such as healthcare power of attorney and whether you want to be an organ donor)
  • The dates and places of birth, medical history (diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure), and cause of death of all close family members.
  • Information about any time a member of your immediate family has been in the hospital (when, where, what for, the names of healthcare providers).
  • Any specific food or drug allergies of family members.
Written by Kate Capage.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2008-12-15
Last reviewed: 2008-11-24
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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