By: Natasha Archary
Nothing is scarier than having a little one who is in obvious distress, hurt or not breathing. Parenting is one of the most important roles you could ever take on and having first aid skills for when mommy or daddy’s kisses won’t fix the boo boo is equally necessary.
As a parent, I always keep a first aid kit in my car and at home. That way if my kiddo does hurt himself or need first aid, it’s supermommy to the rescue. I also recommend a basic first aid course for all parents, especially first time parents because accidents do happen and you want to be prepared to handle any emergency situation with calm confidence.
The scariest experience I’ve had as a mom was when my son got a sweet lodged in his throat. He wasn’t choking, luckily the sweet wasn’t lodged in his airway but he was still panicking and it happened in a restaurant. I knew what I had to do and managed to dislodge the sweet, inspected his throat for any other blockages and proceeded to issue a dose of kisses and hugs.
What happens when the situation is a lot worse? Would you know how to stabilise your child before medical help is on the way?
First Aid 101
First things first, invest in a quality first aid kit. Most pharmacies stock a range of kits with all the essentials included. My advice is to get a kit for the car, for both mom and dad and for any caregiver who will be babysitting.
Your kit should have: (These are the essentials and just a guide)
Adhesive bandaids/plasters in various sizes
Antiseptic solution or wipes
Latex free gloves (some are allergic to latex)
Instant cold compress
Sterile guaze pads
First aid manual
Contact numbers for EMS
Where to begin?
Minor cuts and scrapes
These are unavoidable and part of growing up. Toddlers will get little knicks, bumps, bruises and scrapes as they discover the world around them, through play. For minor cuts and scrapes, wash your hands, put on the gloves and disinfect the area. Remove any debris with water and a cotton ball before applying some antiseptic liquid.
If it’s bleeding, apply a bandaid and change this as and when it becomes soiled. If the bleeding does not subside and you’re concerned about the wound (if there’s swelling, pain or excessive bleeding) take your child to the doctor or paediatrician. Minor cuts and scrapes don’t usually require a trip to the E.R so just monitor the area.
Small children have a tendacity to put everything in their mouths and should be monitored at all times. If your child is choking and coughing to get the obstacle dislodged, encourage them to continue doing so. This could help clear the object. Remain calm and stay closeby until it does. If that doesn’t work you will need to either call EMS or initiate the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts).
Attending a first aid training course would equip you to handle the situation better. If not and waiting for the EMS is not an option, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital while you sit with the child at the back.
Have the child lie on his side and monitor that he remains concious.
Do not attempt to stick your fingers into the child’s mouth as this may push the object further down the airway.
With your palm cupped, hit the back with firm thrusts, careful not to hit too hard.
Sprains and swollen joints
Trips and uncomfortable landings can easily cause sprains and swelling. More so on little joints. A sprain is when the ligaments gets overstretched or partially torn. There’s a difference between a sprain and a fracture, so if you are not sure how severe the damage is, it may be advisable to go to casualty for an X-Ray.
Sprains do cause swelling to the area but it usually subsides over 2 days. To treat a sprain use the RICE method.
R – Rest after the injury. Do not apply pressure to the area or try to move it or walk with a sprained ankle for at least the first 24 hours.
I – Ice the area for the first fifteen minutes after injury to prevent swelling. Wrap the ice pack in a towel to avoid ice burns on skin.
C – Compress the area. Using a splint or ankle or wrist cast to stabilise the area. Children will not understand why they’re now being bandaged up like a mummy but it’s necessary to prevent further ligament damage or tears.
E – Elevate the area. Above or at heart level. If the injury occurs to the neck or back area to not attempt to move the child. Any movement could cause nerve damage, call EMS instead.
Tipping the head back will not stop the bleeding. You can instead cause blood to drip to the back of the child’s throat and increase the flow of blood. Pinch the nostrils closed with your thumb and index finger for about five minutes.
Ask the child to sit up straight and breathe through the mouth.
Do not ask your child to blow their nose during or immediately after a nose bleed.
Seek emergency help if the bleeding does not stop, if the bleeding follows an accident like a fall, punch to the face, or being hit by a ball.
We are nearing the holiday season and over the next few months we will be bringing you regular first aid pieces to prepare you in the event of an emergency with your child. From CPR to swimming safety, these are the first aid skills every super parent needs to be armed with.