First Aid and Safety Tips for Your Child
Concerned about child safety? Here are some vital information you need and resources on first aid!
As much as you wish to keep your attention on what your child is doing at all times, sometimes accidents happen and when they do, do you have whatever’s required to take control of the situation and fix that boo-boo in a jiffy? Here are some useful pointers.
Cuts or Scrapes
If there’s bleeding, first press firmly over the affected area with a clean cloth until it stops, anywhere between three and 15 minutes. Clean the area under lukewarm running water and gently pat dry. When a wound is dirty or was caused by an animal scratch, rinse it with water and gently lather with soap. If the skin is broken, apply a thin layer of over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, then cover with a bandage or gauze and adhesive tape. If you can’t control the bleeding after several attempts with direct pressure, seek medical attention. If a large piece of skin has been removed, wrap it in a clean, moist cloth and place it in a bag over ice — a doctor may be able to reattach it. An animal bite that has caused a deep cut should be seen by a doctor.
Insect Bites or Sting
If the bite or sting wound is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a clean bandage or towel until the bleeding stops. Use rubber gloves to protect yourself and to prevent the wound from getting infected. If the wound is not bleeding heavily, clean it with soap and water, and hold it under running water for several minutes. Dry the wound, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
If the bite or scratch is broken or has punctured the skin, a visit to the doctor will be compulsory. A child who is bitten by an animal may need antibiotics or even a tetanus booster. A bite or scratch on a child’s face, hand, or foot is particularly prone to infection and should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Run to the nearest water source and immediately hold the affected area under cool running water or apply a cold, wet towel until the pain subsides. Cover any small blisters with a loose bandage or gauze and tape and call a doctor as soon as possible if burns are on the face, hands or genitals, or if there are large wounds. If the burn looks deep, with skin that looks white or brown and dry, seek medical aid at once.
Have your child sit upright, but don’t tilt his or her head back. Loosen any tight clothing around the neck. Pinch the lower end of their nose close to the nostrils and have them lean forward while you apply pressure continuously for five to 10 minutes. The bleeding might take longer to stop if you choose to release and check the nose.
Most of the time, the food or object only partially blocks the trachea. If it can be coughed up, breathing will return to normal in less than a minute. Children who seem to be choking and coughing but still can breathe and talk usually recover without help. It can be uncomfortable and upsetting for them, but they’re generally fine after a few seconds.
Choking Can Be an Emergency
However, in severe choking incidents, an object can get into the trachea and completely block the airway. If airflow in and out of the lungs is blocked and the brain is deprived of oxygen, choking can become a life-threatening emergency.
A child may be choking and need help right away if he or she:
- is unable to breathe
- is gasping or wheezing
- can’t talk, cry, or make noise
- turns blue
- grabs at his or her throat or waves arms
- appears panicked
- becomes limp or unconscious
In any such cases, immediately start abdominal thrusts which is also known as the Heimlich Maneuver, the standard rescue procedure for choking, if you’ve been trained to do so. If you do not know the steps to the Heimlich maneuver, there are plenty of YouTube video tutorials on mastering it, and it’s high time you did!
Children with temperatures below 38.9°C often don’t need medicine unless they seem really agitated or uncomfortable. Exception: If you have an infant three months or younger with a rectal temperature of 38°C or higher, call your doctor or visit your clinic at once. Even a slight fever can be a sign of a potentially serious infection in very young infants.
If your child is between three months and three years old and has a fever of 39°C or higher, call your doctor to see if your child needs to be seen. For older children, take behavior and activity level into account. Watching how your child behaves will give you a pretty good idea of whether a minor illness is the cause or if your child should be seen by a doctor.
In regards to their little ones’ safety, parents should ensure that:
- Baby’s changing table has a safety belt
- The crib’s headboard and footboard are free of large cut-outs
- All of the hardware on the crib are well-secured
- The crib mattress is firm, flat and fits snugly in the crib
- The crib is free of soft pillows, large stuffed animals, bumper pads, and soft bedding
- All strings or ribbons have been clipped off hanging mobiles and crib toys
- Window blinds and curtain cords are tied with clothespins or specially designed cord clips, and are kept well out of reach and away from cribs
- Dressers are secured to walls with drawers closed
- The lids on toy chests or toy storage containers have a lid support to keep them from slamming shut and that toy chests are non-locking
- Window guards have been placed on any window that isn’t an emergency exit
- Night-lights in the room do not have any fabric like bedspreads or curtains
- There a smoke alarm outside the bedroom
- All drawstrings from your child’s clothing have been removed
A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a necessity in every home. Having supplies gathered ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment’s notice. You should keep one first-aid kit in your home and one in each car. Also be sure to bring a first-aid kit on family vacations.
- Tweezers (to remove splinters or ticks)
- Hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion (for bites or stings)
- Alcohol wipes (to clean scissors and tweezers)
- Oral antihistamine (for allergic reactions)
- Non-latex gloves (to use when treating a wound)
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for pain and fever)
- Triple-antibiotic ointment (to prevent infection)
- Hand sanitizer (to clean hands in case water and soap aren’t available)
- Blanket (to prevent heat loss after large burns and to treat for shock)
- Bottled water (to rinse wounds if there’s no faucet nearby)
- Instant cold compress (to control swelling)
Source: Parents Magazine US and Kids Health Org.