Pearls of Wisdom: First Aid 101

School’s out and most youngsters are letting loose outside, which is what summer is all about, but during summer, there’s an increase in the chances of accidental injuries. Kids are prone to scrapes and bruises on their knees or elbows, but it’s every mother’s nightmare is to see her baby or toddler severely injured. The sight of blood can be frightening, but it’s important to stay calm and in control, especially in front of your toddler. Better and sound decisions are made when nerves are settled.

Cuts & Lacerations:

Firstly, apply direct pressure to stop all active bleeding using a clean gauze or cloth over the injury for at least five minutes. Do not release pressure prematurely as this may result in more bleeding. If bleeding resumes after continuous pressure, call your doctor right away. Even minor cuts to the head and/or face can bleed profusely because of the rich vascular supply to these areas. If the cut is small and you feel comfortable treating it at home, wash the wound with soap and water until you get rid of all dirt and debris. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, e.g. Neosporin, then cover it with a sterile wrap. Applying a butterfly bandage to minor cuts to hold edges together during the healing process provides excellent protection.

Remember that even small cuts that don’t bleed excessively can still be deep (more than ½ inch) and need medical attention. Injury to the underlying nerves, muscles and tendons can occur even if a surface wound appears non-threatening. Lacerations on the face, chest and back may leave disfiguring scars if the wound does not heal properly. Suturing these types of wounds by a trained medical professional can ensure proper healing and result in less visible scars.

If in doubt, visit your doctor so she can examine the wound for foreign objects such as dirt or glass that can lead to infection and poor wound healing. Your child may not allow thorough examination of the wound, particularly if he is in pain and/or distress; in this situation, your doctor can apply a local anesthetic called lidocaine so she can examine it better.

Note from the BabyLegs team: BabyLegs can protect from scraped knees and elbows and can also be used to protect bandages and gauze, casts, and any other dressings.

Burns:

Serious burns in children can result from sunburn, hot-water scalds, fire or electrical contact, a hot iron or chemicals. As quickly as you can, submerge the burn area in cold water for as long as your child can withstand it to cool the area and relieve the pain. It is not recommended to use ice since this may delay healing. Rubbing on the burn area can also cause it to blister.

Soak any smoldering clothing in cold water followed by removal of any clothing from the burned area unless it is tightly adhering to the burned surface. In this instance, cut away as much clothing as possible. Cover the burn with a sterile gauze or a dry cloth and seek medical attention immediately. Stay away from home remedies such as applying butter, grease or powder on burns as all of these can only make the injury worse.

Animal Bites:

Majority of animal bites in children are inflicted by animals that the child knows, including the family cat or dog. Even though these bites are minor, they can cause disfigurement and scarring if bitten on the face, and can also result in anxiety and fear. There are estimated 4.7 million dog bites, 400,000 cat bites, 45,000 snake bites and 250,000 bites by other people (mostly children) reported annually from pediatric emergency centers. 50 out of every 100 people bitten by a cat get an infection, compared to 20 of every 100 following dog or human bites.

If active bleeding is noted, apply direct pressure to area for at least 5 minutes. Then wash wound thoroughly with soap and water and consult your pediatrician. Regardless of how minor the bite appears, contact your pediatrician so he can check if your child has been adequately immunized against tetanus or if he needs treatment for rabies.

Poisons:

Most children who swallow poisons recover, especially if they received immediate medical attention.

Once you discover that your child has ingested any form of poison, stay calm and notify your pediatrician. Also immediately call the national toll-free number for Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be speaking to experts who can give you step-by-step instructions on what to do depending on the type of poison your child ingested.

Nosebleeds:

Most nosebleeds are caused by a child picking the nose, an accidental blow to the nose, or sinusitis and allergies. In the event of a nosebleed, have your child sit down and using his thumb and index finger, pinch the area just behind the tip of nose while opening the mouth to breathe and placing head down between the knees. Younger children may require an adult to do this for them. Bleeding normally stops after 5-10 minutes. Usual blood loss from nosebleeds are minimal, however if bleeding continues for more than 10-15 minutes of pressure, call your doctor or take him to the emergency room for a possible cautery.

From my family to yours, I wish all of you BabyLeggers and fun, happy, and safe summer with your children. Enjoy them while they are young!

All information contained in this blog and on our web site(s) should be independently verified by you by a medical professional of your own choosing and you should always conduct your own research and due diligence before making any decision related to the subject matter of this blog or our web site. 

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Dr. Pearl

 

Dr. Pearl Cenon

A pediatrician in private practice in New Jersey for over 15 years, Dr. Cenon (we like to call her Dr. Pearl) also has two children of her own. Dr. Pearl’s husband, Kevin McDonough is also a pediatrician and they work together. She writes basic posts about topics that interest many parents, from skin care and nutrition to seasonal issues, such as allergies and colds. Her kind, approachable tone in each blog post will have you looking forward to the next one.