Grandparents Need Permission for Plans and Emergencies

parent permission

Last year my seven-year old granddaughter was coming to stay with us for several days. In my excitement I made the mistake of asking her if she’d like to go boating on Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park—before I’d cleared it with her parents. Of course she wanted to go and said she could hardly wait.

That night I got a call from my daughter. She wasn’t sure she wanted us to go boating, but she didn’t want to be the “bad guy” and spoil our plans either. “I wish you’d asked me first,” she said. It was a perfectly reasonable request and I immediately realized my mistake. Before you discuss any plan with your grandchildren, clear it with their parents first. The rule is simple enough but we can get so caught up in our excitement we forget the importance of asking permission.
It’s also important to get an Emergency Medical Consent Form when you’re in charge of your grandchildren. Without parental permission, doctors will only treat children in life-threatening situations. There are lots of excellent forms on the Internet but all you really need are the basics:

  • Child’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Physician’s name and phone numbers
  • Insurance carrier and policy number
  • Child’s medical history, including medications, allergies, blood type and chronic conditions

Then add a statement: “I give consent to any licensed physician or medical facility to give necessary medical service to my child, (CHILD’S NAME). I also give consent for my child to be transported by ambulance to an emergency center for treatment.” (PARENTS’ FULL NAME AND SIGNATURE)

Notarization of such a consent is not usually required.


  1. Sthult says

    Ridiculuous, when the grandparent is with a seven year old they are both at the age when they can make plans for a simple outing. Parents are parents, yes, but there doesn’t have to be an application in triplicate to go to the toilet…

    • says

      Yes, grandparents can make plans but I believe it’s important to check them out with your grandchild’s parents first. It all really boils down to mutual trust and respect.

  2. Chandra bose says

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  3. says

    Great post! Unfortunately, in my family I am the one who worries about water accidents, and most of the members of my family love boating, fishing and water sports. I just have to grin and bear it. I don’t want to clip their wings or deny them fun. Sometimes I even go along!