Important Records: Medical and Legal
There are a number of documents you need to keep in a safe place where you can find them when needed. It is a good idea to keep records in a waterproof and fire-proof box. The records to keep in a safe place include:
- bank and credit card account numbers
- computer backups
- contracts, home or other property deeds, lease or loan documents, vehicle titles, mortgage information, stocks and bonds.
- copies of house keys, car keys, and other keys you may need
- copies of recent bills (power, water, phone, household insurance, real estate taxes)
- education records (report cards, degrees and certificates, transcripts)
- family records (birth certificates or proof of citizenship, marriage and death certificates, military service records)
- financial statements (tax returns, accountant information)
- insurance policies
- inventory of possessions and their value (with photos)
- list of important phone numbers (personal contacts and numbers for insurance, credit cards, or banks)
- medical records
- passports, social security cards, immunization records
Your child'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 will register the birth with the local health department or registrar of births. If you have a home birth, be sure someone registers 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 to make sure the information is correct. Call the health department to get any mistakes corrected right away.
Have several copies of the birth certificate made. 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.
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 medical conditions
- 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 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
- Any food or drug allergies of family members
Written by Kate Capage.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-01-30
Last reviewed: 2009-12-01
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 health care professional.