13 Essential Phone Numbers Every Parent Should Know

emergency phone numbersI live in NYC. Ever since September 2001, we've had an emergency action plan for our family. Her preschool even has one. As that Boy Scout motto goes: be prepared. There are some areas where I know I should be more prepared, especially when it comes to having phone numbers at the ready.

I have my work number, my husband’s work info, and the babysitter’s cell number in my phone, as well as the digits for Chirpin' Chicken and Patsy’s Pizza. But Poison Control? It's on the fridge at home, but not in my cell phone.

Of course, we all know 911 and have the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website bookmarked on our computer (www.cpsc.gov, in case you don't), but every once in awhile, it helps to be reminded of what else we may need in an emergency. So, here they are: 13 essential numbers all parents should have programmed into that iPhone/BlackBerry/gadget of choice.


1. Poison Control -- This is a big one, folks. The main U.S. number is 1-800-222-1222. Open 24-7, they can answer any questions and connect you to your state’s poison control center as well.

2. Doctor -- Instead of rummaging through your purse for a business/appointment card, have both your primary physician and your kiddo’s pediatrician numbers handy and ready.

3. Pharmacist/Pharmacy -- How many times have you had to Google that info to call in an asthma inhaler refill? Plug it into your phone and put it on the fridge.

4. Your Kid’s School -- I know, that’s obvious, but do you have it in your phone? I don't.

5. Dentist -- If Junior gets his front tooth busted in the seventh inning, who are you going to call?

6. Neighbor and/or a friend (that has a key to your house) -- For when you are on the school field trip to the zoo and it dawns on you that you left the iron on ... and a myriad of other reasons.

7. Insurance hotlines -- Both your car and home insurance companies should have a hotline. This is one of the first numbers you need when an accident happens or when disaster strikes. You may not have access to your computer or paper files, so having this programmed in your phone is key.

8. A relative or friend who lives out of state -- If a disaster happens in your area, it’s often easier to contact someone out of state or long-distance. Many family emergency plans suggest that everyone in the family know who that contact is to “check in.”

9. Lost/stolen credit cards hotline -- Sure, they are on the back of your card, but that doesn’t help much when your cards are gone. They should be in your phone (and maybe on a sheet of paper at home or in your car).

10. Local locksmith -- I was locked out of my house when I was six months pregnant. In pajamas with no wallet and only my cell phone. I walked up and down Broadway looking for a locksmith for an hour. Would've been nice to have that info in my phone.

11. NHTSA auto safety hotline -- This is handy when you are traveling and have questions about car seats and car safety. Here it is: 1-888-327-4236.

12. Local towing service or AAA -- Again, you just never know when that battery is going to conk out. When it does, having this info handy will make the situation a little easier.

13. Animal control -- This is a good one, especially if you live in a rural area or if you are a scout leader. If you see a sick animal, foaming or otherwise, that critter needs to be reported. My sister used to live in Alaska, and they used the number whenever a moose or bear would wander into the cul-de-sac. I'm not joking.

It’s a good idea to save them in your phone, but what if your phone dies? Have a few of these written down, tucked in your wallet or glove compartment just in case.

Do you have these essential numbers handy?


Image via DijutalTim/Flickr 

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