The sickening thud took our breath away. It was 2001, and my wife and I were in a tiny town in Wyoming on vacation with friends. Like all rambunctious toddlers, their little boy was a bolt of energy. He raced across the driveway. Jumping. Laughing. Beaming with reckless abandon after being cooped up in a car for hours.


Suddenly, he caught his foot on a water hose and crashed to the concrete. He hit hard. Really hard. And it was his head that hit first. The sound left a nauseating feeling in our stomachs. It got worse. He lost consciousness and seemed unresponsive. We scrambled for what to do.


Thankfully, the town—though tiny—did have a makeshift medical facility. We raced the poor little guy to the clinic and began the long process of evaluation. Thankfully, the injury was not life threatening. A day later he was back at it, as vigorous as ever.


That was 2001. We didn’t have iPads and iPhones. No around-the-clock access to all things medical. Times have changed; kids, however, haven’t.


Spring break is here, and thousands of Austin families are hitting the road. Whether you’re lounging at the beach, driving through the mountains or exploring an urban menagerie of skyscrapers and eateries, there’s a very real chance that you or someone you love may need some minor medical intervention. If you do, help might be an app away.


Apps can help us navigate tummy aches and first aid suggestions, find doctors and pharmacies and remember to take our meds. You’ll need to do your homework, of course, but the apps below would be a great place to start.


  • The American Red Cross is a name trusted by millions. We most often think about them coming to the rescue during massive global disasters. Bless them for that, but they also have a great first aid app. From step-by-step instructions about burns to bad weather, this app is a must.


  • GotoAID is another important resource. This app has first aid options not just for the people we love, but also for our pets. If Fido or Felix is headed out on a trip with you, GotoAID will be a great companion.


  • ZocDoc is an app that was born out of necessity. Their website tells the story: “After ZocDoc’s founder suffered a burst eardrum, the doctor couldn’t see him for four painful days. He was left wondering: If we could buy everything from hand soap to airfare with a swipe of the phone, why was healthcare so different?” Consequently, ZocDoc helps you find an available doctor with the ease and efficiency that we’ve come to expect.
  • Finally, while it’s not an app, it certainly is applicable. WebMD has a great list of guidelines and suggestions for being prepared medically for your get-away. Their article Packing for a Healthy Vacation could be just the guide you need to make for a safe, healthy spring break trip. It provides a great checklist to ensure that you don’t just have your favorite jeans and t-shirts, but that you also have your bases covered for prescriptions, insurance documentation and your mobile medicine cabinet.

Of course, there are many more apps out there to make your week away the best it can be. We hope these suggestions will provide a glimpse into what’s available and will spark your interest in exploring ways to make your spring break one that will allow for your time and energy to be focused on the most important thing of all: making memories with your friends and family.

Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.

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