Children – 5 things you need to know about First Aid

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 1 Mar 2022

1. Cuts, bruises & wounds

It’s normal for children to get the occasional cut or bruise, especially if they are on the active side. To treat shallow cuts and scrapes, apply gentle, sustained pressure to the affected area to stop bleeding. After that, wash your hands, clean the wound with running water and apply antiseptic cream. Cover the affected area with a secure bandage. If the bleeding is severe and does not stop after five minutes of applying pressure, bring your child to the GP or A&E immediately.

If your child has a bruise on their limbs, apply ice packs to alleviate the swelling. If the swelling does not go away after a few days, call your doctor.

For large or deep wounds, bring your child to the doctor to get it sutured. A tetanus injection may also be required to reduce infection. While waiting for medical attention, elevate the injured limb and apply sustained pressure to reduce bleeding.

2. Head injuries

A slight bump on the head is usually not a cause for concern, but do keep a watchful eye on your child and call your doctor immediately if your child: 

  • Complains of a headache 
  • Is unusually sleepy 
  • Can’t be roused from sleep 
  • Is generally disorientated 
  • Is vomiting

If your child has suffered a strong blow to the head, it may be a medical emergency. Call immediately if your child: 

  • Becomes unconscious right after the head injury 
  • Has blood or water coming out of the nose or ears 
  • Is paralysed 
  • Is unable to coordinate their movements 
  • Suffers a seizure 
  • Has slurred speech

3. Choking

Choking occurs when a foreign object is lodged in the airway, blocking the flow of oxygen. If your child has choked on something but is still able to breathe and talk, you may perform the Heimlich manoeuvre to dislodge the object: 

  • Ball your hands into a fist and place it slightly above the navel 
  • Cover your fist with your other hand 
  • Thrust inward and upward repeatedly until the object is released from the airway

Do note that the Heimlich manoeuvre can only be performed on children aged one and above. You may perform the following steps for a choking infant:

  • Lay the infant face down on your forearm and use your thigh or lap for support 
  • Hold the infant’s chest and jaw with one hand, then point the infant’s head downward. 
  • Deliver five quick, strong blows between the infant’s shoulder blades with the palm of your free hand.

If your child becomes unconscious or turns blue, perform CPR. If you don’t know CPR, call immediately.

4. Burns

If your child has suffered a burn, remove them from the object or substance immediately. Run the affected area under cool water, apply an antiseptic and secure it with a non-adhesive dry dressing. Refrain from applying other substances like toothpaste or powder to the wound as it may worsen the infection.

Deep burns may require medical attention. Wrap the affected area with a clean sheet or blanket before bringing your child to the doctor.

5. Allergic reactions

Children may experience allergic reactions to certain foods, insect bites, medications, pollen and more. Here are signs of allergic reactions in children to look out for:

  • Rash 
  • Hives 
  • Wheezing 
  • Swelling of the face and mouth 
  • Coughing 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Itchy or swollen eyes

While these symptoms can cause extreme discomfort, they are not harmful. Remove your child from the allergy trigger and help them sit comfortably to breathe better. Visit a doctor to discuss these symptoms.

However, if your child is displaying signs of allergic anaphylaxis, immediate medical attention is required. Watch out for these signs: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Having breathing difficulties
  • Losing consciousness

Contact the team at Osler Health and please know we always have emergency appointments available. 

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