Any parent knows the amazing bumps and scrapes that kids can get themselves into, and more often than not they bounce back to their usual self after a few minutes of wailing and some well-deserved self-pity. Unfortunately, sometimes these accidents end up with far worse results, and in some cases may require medical assistance from your pediatrician or even the ER. It can be difficult to gauge the severity of the problem, especially in young children who aren’t able to speak, so here’s a handy guide to the more common home emergencies, and how to help.
A cut or scrape
If a cut or scrape occurs, apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage from your first aid kit, and try to elevate that part of their body above their heart to stem the flow of blood. If it’s bleeding profusely, or the flow does not stop within ten or 15 minutes with sufficient pressure, it’s worth calling for an ambulance or making your way to the ER, maintaining pressure and elevation the whole time. This is the same if they manage to fall from the climbing frame and bite their tongue enough to draw blood – try to apply direct pressure and take them to the ER if the bleeding doesn’t slow.
A burn or scald
If a child, or an adult for that matter, manages to pour a cup of boiling coffee over themselves, or get too close to a hot radiator, you will have a burn or a scald to deal with. If the burn covers a large part of their body, call an ambulance or rush to the ER, especially if it’s on their face, hands, or feet. If it’s a smaller burn, you can treat it at home with speed. Get the hot liquid off them by plonking them in the sink or shower and running cold water over them for a while until the area is cool to the touch. Don’t use petroleum jelly or other substances – just add an antibiotic cream and cover lightly with a bandage, and seek help from your pediatrician if you’re still concerned.
If you find your child, or anyone else, unconscious, call 911 immediately. They will be able to talk you through the checks while an ambulance is dispatched. In a public area, they may recommend using AEDs, which are automated external defibrillators, if their heart is not beating, but you should wait to be told to do so by the dispatcher. Otherwise, they may recommend you clear their airways or administer CPR until the emergency medical responders arrive.
A bump on the head
When your child falls off the sofa and lands with a bump on the head, chances are there will be a whole lot of screaming. If the fall knocks them unconscious, call 911 for assistance. Otherwise, if it just leaves them screaming and with a tremendous bump on their head, chances are they’ll be just fine. A cold compress will take some of the pain and swelling out of the bump. Just keep an eye on them for the next few hours for signs of concussion, such as confusion, nausea, and a severe headache.
Many home first aid emergencies can be treated without the help of professionals, but if you’re ever worried, a trip to the ER or pediatrician is in order – it’s far better to be safe than sorry.