First Aid - Useful knowledge for any parent

First Aid - Useful knowledge for any parent

  Autor NN Team Data: 01.04.2009

It's unpleasant to think of the situations when you have to give first aid to your child. But, no matter how difficult it would be for us as parents, we must have at least minimal knowledge in this area because, we all know, children play a lot, they are very curious; some of them are naughty and may have all kinds of accidents, more or less serious. Whether it is a scratch or a fracture, we must be prepared, to know what we have to do and especially, we have to stay calm and cool.

Here are the main rules of first aid, according to the injury suffered:

Bone fractures
You can tell your child has a bone fracture if the respective limb is painful, can't be moved and seems distorted or livid. In this case, the most important is not to move the broken limb before being seen by a doctor. For this you can use splints, which you can improvise using some boards, branches from a tree, rolled newspapers or magazines. First, you wrap the broken limb in some wool or other soft material, and then you apply the splints, which have to be tied with a bandage or a piece of cloth, without pressing too hard. You can tie the arm with a bandage around the child's neck. If you don't have any splints around, place the broken limb on a soft pillow, taking care not to move it at all. Bone fractures can be closed (the skin on the broken limb is intact) or open, when the broken bone comes through the skin. In the second case, the view is not pleasant at all, but we have to keep our calm. It would be the best if we don't touch the wound, as not everyone has the expertise to treat an open fracture, but we have to make sure we get to the hospital as soon as possible or we dial the emergency number to call an ambulance.

Injuries can occur in several ways, but usually happen by cutting, tearing or crushing. We all know those wounds gathered around the knees. If it is a cushy wound, it's simple: we clean the skin around the wound with a cotton pad soaked with Rivanol antiseptic, oxygenated water or tincture of iodine. An open wound must be cleaned with clear water to prevent infection. First, you apply a bandage, especially if the child goes back to play; but for the wound to heal faster, it has to stay in contact with the air as much as possible. If it's more than a graze, the child has to be seen by a doctor to be properly cared and to have the wound sutured if necessary. The wounds caused by animal bites require special attention. In this case, no matter how cushy the wound is, it's better to go to the hospital, for the open wound to be well cleaned by the doctor. Also, we have to talk to the doctor about the animal which has bitten the child and about the necessity of the rabies vaccination. The doctor will direct you to the offices where these vaccines can be made.

Hemorrhage or bleeding can be caused by different kinds of wounds. If the bleeding is profuse, the first aid is extremely important for the child's life, as he may lose much blood until the doctors arrive. If the wound is in the neck area, you have to press on it, using clean gauze. In case of need (on trips, in the park), you may use any other fabric, a t-shirt for example or another clothing. You have to keep pressing on the wound until the doctors arrive, to permit the blood to curdle. If the wound is at one of the limbs and the hemorrhage couldn't be stopped by pressing on the wound, you have to apply the tourniquet. This might be a strap, a rolled t-shirt, a string, which, ideally, has to be applied over a piece of cotton or another soft cloth, so you won't the child's skin. The tourniquet has to be applied above the wound and you have to remember the exact hour and minute when you applied it. Warning! The tourniquet is an extreme method and has its own risks (the blood is not flowing in the respective limb any longer). It is being applied only in case of massive arterial or venous bleeding, meaning when the blood is gushing or flowing too much.

Apparently harmless, the sunstroke could be a real danger, especially for the children. A child will complain of dizziness, headaches, his pulse and his breathing will be irregular. First thing we do is take the child at some cool place, where he won't be in bright sunlight. Apply cold compresses on his skin and give him as many liquids as you can, to prevent dehydration. It is recommended to take him to the emergency room, for us to be completely unalarmed.

Burns could be caused by contact with fire, hot objects or liquids or by electrocution. In the first case, the burned clothes are removed from the child's skin, if they are not stuck to skin. If they are stuck to the child's skin, it's better to wait for the doctors to come. For the singes, which don't require medical aid, you may use a sulfonamide ointment or medicinal alcohol. In case blisters form, they should not be broken. In case of electrocution, first you interrupt the power supply, so other accidents don't happen, and then you take the child away from the dangerous area. You have to give him warm and sweet liquids to drink and call an ambulance.

Respiratory arrest
Respiratory arrest most often occurs because of a foreign body entered the airways of the child. Also, breathing may be blocked by his own tongue. The most important is to remove the object which is blocking the airways. With the hand wrapped in a handkerchief or empty handed, in case of need, you have to clean the child's mouth and look for the foreign object. To get it out you can apply the Heimlich maneuver, which is pressing easily and short on the child's plexus, between the umbilical cord and sternum, until the foreign object is removed. This maneuver should be applied only when the child isn't able to breathe; it is ideal if the child is easily tilting forward. Also, you can put the child with his belly on your lap, tilting forward, and then easily tap him on his back. If he swallowed his tongue, put him with his face up and his head bent backwards, so you can loosen the tongue from the bottom of his neck.

Intoxication is one of the most common household accidents. Besides calling the emergency number, there is not much you can do. Prepare the container of the substance which the child swallowed, so the doctor will know exactly what it contains. Call the pediatrician or another doctor to ask for advice about what have to do until you get to the hospital. Perhaps you will be told to make the child vomit, so it's recommended that you keep emetic pills in the house. Although, sometimes it's dangerous to induce vomiting, so you shouldn't do it unless a doctor tells you, who knows exactly what and how much the child swallowed, how old and what weight is he.

A child can drown even in a bathtub or a bucket of water. First thing you have to do is to get him out of the water and put him on his back, on the floor or in the bed. We try to figure out if the child is breathing or not by placing our year over his mouth and his nose, and by putting two fingers on his neck we try to feel his pulse. If he is not breathing, we have to do mouth to mouth breathing. With one hand we put his head on the back, and with the other hand we heave up his chin. We hold his nose tight and we breathe in his mouth twice, each breath of one or two seconds. After the first breathing we wait for the child's chest to rise and come down. If his chest rises, we try to find his pulse. If it doesn't, we try again to do mouth to mouth breathing and we repeat until the doctors arrive. If we don't feel his pulse, we use the palm of our hands (both hands for big children and for teenagers) to press in the middle of his chest. After five quick presses, we hold his nose and breathe in his mouth, and then we repeat presses and breathing until medical help arrives.

It is very important to speak to the child the entire period of giving first aid; if he is conscious, we should bring him to calm, keep him awake and make him tell us what happened, if we were not there when it happened. But to do this, we have to keep ourselves calm and cold blood. If we don't know exactly how to intervene, we shouldn't intervene at all. We call the emergency number and we wait for the medical help to come. If we intervene without knowing exactly what must be done, we only make things worse.

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