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. 

———–

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.

 

Pearls of Wisdom: Sun Safety Tips

A short season to many, summer means a jam packed season of vacations, barbecues, water parks and plenty of time spent outside with loads of sun exposure. Enjoying the warm weather is important physically, socially and mentally after a long and brutally cold winter. However, parents must be very aware of the damages done by UVR rays. Harmful damage by UV radiance is extremely dangerous to children, especially those that are fair skinned, freckle or sunburn easily, or have a history of melanoma in their family. It comes as no surprise that lifelong protection from the sun should start at an early age. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to protect your children from the harmful effects of sun exposure.

Babies under 6 months:

  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible in this age group.
  • Dress babies in lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and wide –brimmed hats that give ample coverage for the face and neck. Find shade under a tree, umbrella or the stroller canopy.
  • When proper clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 sparingly to small areas e.g. face, neck, and back of hands with special care around the eye area.
  • If they get sunburn, apply cool compresses to burnt areas.
  • Make sure babies are drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

1 year old and up:

  • The most effective line of defense against harmful UV ray exposure is covering up! Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill that faces forward, sunglasses that provide 97%-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays, and cotton clothing with a tight weave, or UV protective clothing. The less light that shines through the fabric, the better.
  • Try to find shade when possible and limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when UV rays are the strongest. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or more on both sunny and cloudy days. Make sure you are applying enough (roughly one ounce per sitting for a young adult) and re-apply every 2 hours, or after excess sweating or coming out of the swimming pool.
  • Exercise more caution in areas near water, snow, concrete or sand as they reflect UV rays and cause sunburn even faster.
  • Sunscreen can offer protection from sunburn and some skin cancers, but only if used correctly. Always remember that sunscreen is used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

Choosing the right sunscreen:

  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection the sunscreen has.
  • Look for the label that says “broad spectrum”- which means it gives protection for both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Look for the new UVA star rating system on the label with one star offering the lowest UVA protection and four star the highest protection.
  • Choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide on sensitive areas of the body. These products stay visible on the skin even after rubbing them in and some come in fun colors that kids will love.
  • Some brands of sunscreen may burn baby’s eyes, so look for a baby-friendly one that may even have “safe around the eye area” listed on the packaging.

Warm, sunny days are here and the sun certainly feels good on our skin, especially after a long, cold winter. But just remember that what feels good can also harm you and your children.  Protect your family this summer. My Pearl of Wisdom for today?  “Block the sun and have loads of fun!”

The BabyLegs team is happy to share Pearls of Wisdom with our readers and this week, we’d like to add that our BabyCool!  line of UVA/UVB protective warmers, made of breathable mesh fabric, is an excellent supplement to sunscreen and other protective sun apparel and accessories. The complete line of BabyCool! styles for both boys and girls can be viewed at www.babylegs.com.

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. 

———–

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.