No matter how protective parents are, with all the running and climbing - falls, cuts, tumbles, bruises and bumps are a common part of childhood. The way we respond to injuries determine the effect of it. When responded correctly, a potential lifetime effect would be suppressed to a short term ailment. Most of the minor injuries and ailment that occur at home can be treated with a well-stocked first aid kit at home. But, serious injuries always needs immediate medical attention.
Seek medical attention when your child - loses consciousness, has a seizure, has difficulty in breathing, is confused, keeps bleeding, vomits continuously, becomes very sleepy, has a serious head, neck or back injury. With a kid at home it is always good to be prepared. Here are few things that you must know to treat a minor injury at home before getting a proper medical attention.
Cut or scrap
- With a small cut or wound, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound. Press firmly with a clean cloth and hold it for a while - as when the pressure reduces the bleeding will restart. Wash the wound under a tap of running water and pat it dry. If the wound is dirty, try to get the dirt out by washing with a mild soap and water. It is always better to see a doctor if you cannot get the dirt out, as it could cause an infection.
- If there is an object that sticks into the wound (like a piece of glass or metal), don’t try to pull them out. In such cases to stop the bleeding by pressing around the wound and not on it. Seek the help of a doctor immediately.
- For bleeding from a large cut or if you cannot stop or control the bleeding consult your pediatrician immediately. Until you receive help from a medical practitioner, press firmly with a clean cloth or a gauze. If blood soaks through the cloth, place another cloth over it and don’t remove the soaked cloth. Continue applying pressure directly on the wound.
- Always try to wash your hands before and after treating the cuts or scrapes. If you have a latex gloves in your first aid box, use them.
Minor head injuries
Minor head injuries are very common among kids. For minor scalp wounds, try to control the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound with a clean cloth. To remove any dirt, wash the area with mild soap and water. Ice the area(with ice wrapped in a cloth) for about 15 minutes to reduce pain and swelling.
Since it is a head injury watch the child for few hours and rush to the doctor if you find any of the following signs.
- Crying continuously
- Fluid from eyes and ears
- Blurry vision and headache
- Continuous bleeding
Burn injuries should be treated immediately as temperature of the burn damages the skin underlying tissues. For minor first degree burns, removed the clothes from the area and run cool water over the affected area . Never use ice directly as it might increase the destruction to the skin. Watch for any signs of infection-puss, redness, swelling or fluid discharge.
If the burn appears to be deep(more than 1/4 inch) or if there are burns on the face,scalp,genitals seek immediate medical attention.
A child may choke when an object- generally food or toy is stuck in the trachea(airway) preventing airflow in and out the lungs. It's because toddlers and young children have underdeveloped swallowing and few teeth. They will be unable to breath, speak, or make sound. They will turn blue and become unconscious when the choking lasts longer. In children there is a high risk of choking on food and other small objects. Make sure to cut and serve the food items that pose choking risks - Grapes, raw carrots, nuts, hard candies, pop corn or any food item similar size.
First aid for strain, sprain and broken bone injuries
It is often difficult to tell the difference between strain(overstretched or torn muscle), sprain(overstretched or torn ligament) and broken bone. When any of these injuries happen, ensure to stop the movement of the child right away. Remove the clothing from the injured part and ice the area(ice wrapped in a cloth). With a broken bone, never try to push anything sticking out or wash the wound. Since it is difficult to identify the kind of injury, it is always better to consult a doctor immediately.
- Injuries to children’s teeth is very common. The injuries vary from minor or major chip to displaced or knocked out tooth. If your child loses a baby tooth it need not be replaced but if a permanent tooth is dislodged it is a dental emergency.
- If the gums or the baby tooth is injured, control the bleeding with a cloth or gauze by applying pressure on the area. Ice the area wrapped in a cloth to reduce pain and swelling and take them to a dentist.
- Due to the injury your child has a loose tooth or minor chip consult a doctor. Sharp edges of the tooth has to smoothened.
- If a permanent tooth is broken or knocked out rinse the mouth with hot water and collect all the pieces of the tooth. Place the tooth in a container of milk and rush to your dentist. Meanwhile ask your child to bite down on a cloth or gauze to control the bleeding.
First aid kit
It is a must to have a well stocked first aid kit with the following items within easy reach. The kit should include digital thermometer, bandages, sterile cotton balls, antibiotic creams for scrapes and cuts, aloe gel for burns, ice pack, hot water bottle, gauze pads and rolls, pair of scissors, hand sanitizers and insect repellant.
The most important items in the first aid kit should be the name and contact numbers of pediatrician and neighbors in case you need immediate assistance. You never know what is going to happen with kids around. And, first aid kits should never be left in reach of a child.
As parents we always panic when our kid is injured. It is more important to be prepared than being protective and it is much easier if we are prepared. Stay calm, do not panic or over-react. And, never yell or scream at them. After all, you are the ones they depend on.
Share this article with your fellow mommy friends and do let us know how you handled your kid's first aid. Happy and safe parenting!