It’s been a long day, the kids are finally playing by themselves and you’ve just sat down with a much deserved cup of tea when you hear it… the unmistakable sound of someone getting hurt and calling for you. No more tea for you, but what do you do next? Now is when you need to know about first aid for children.
There are lots of small injuries that can be treated at home with love by Mom or Dad. I’ve outlined a few basic first aid for children home treatments to help you react quickly and get back to that cup of tea.
Scrapes and minor cuts
If the child is bleeding, you’ll want to apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze pad to stop the bleeding. After that, rinse the area with lukewarm water to clean it and apply a very thin layer of an over-the-counter antibiotic cream (i.e. Neosporin) and then cover the area with a band aid. Continue to keep the area clean and apply the cream daily for 2-3 days. Once a scab starts to form, you can keep the bandage off to speed up healing. Cuts and scrapes can get tight or itchy as they heal. Whenever my youngest son complains about this, I apply a perfume-free moisturizer to help ease the discomfort and take his mind off of it.
Bumps and Bruises
Sometimes these injuries are the worst for parents because there’s no easy fix. Most injuries that cause bumps and/or bruises are more emotionally troublesome than they are medically. If the injury is anywhere other than the head and your child is using the injured body part (arm, hand, leg, foot, etc.) normally, supportive measures are generally all that are needed. Follow the R.I.C.E directive: Rest, ice, compression, elevation. Compression is accomplished by wrapping the area with an ace bandage or a support designed for the affected body part (wrist splint, elbow, etc.). When using an ace bandage, make sure it isn’t too tight. You should be able to easily slip your index & middle finger flush between the bandage and the child’s skin. Compression is best for sprains and muscle pulls and not necessary for bumps or bruises. Follow this up with some pain reliever (Tylenol, Motrin) as needed. Personally, I’ve found with my own children that lots of hugs and kisses and maybe a movie or a book for distraction are ultimately the best fix!
Contrary to what many people believe, splinters are not necessarily a danger if not removed immediately. If your child has a splinter, clean the area with soap and water and use a clean pair of tweezers to slowly pull the splinter out. If it doesn’t come out, believe it or not, you can wait a few weeks to see if it will come out on its own. If it is very painful, becomes red or if the area starts to ooze, it’s time to call the doctor. Otherwise, it’s back to the power of distraction!
Remember to stay calm. Children feed off of their parent’s emotions and can usually be talked down from the boo-boo ledge if they see you’re not upset by the situation. When all is well again, don’t forget to reheat your tea!