As parents, despite your best efforts, accidents may still occur. You want to protect your children from all potential dangers at all times and will most certainly take steps to make your home as safe an environment as possible.
As a parent, you need to be familiar with some basic life-saving skills in case of accidents. This will also give you the confidence and power to make a difference in your child’s life.
While waiting for a medical attention, these basic life-saving skills will go a long way in saving your child:
1. Broken Bones
Fractures often happen when children are playing or participating in sports. The harder your little ones play, the harder they fall.
Broken bones, or fractures, is not an anomaly in childhood. Many children will have a broken bone at some point.
Here is how to deal with the situation as a parent:
- Calm your child and keep the injured area as still as possible by placing blankets or clothing around it.
- If the skin is broken, cover the injury with a clean, non-fluffy pad and gently bandage.
- If you notice your child is feeling worse or developing a fast pulse, lie them down and raise the legs
- If the leg is injured, raise another limb instead.
- Don’t let your child eat or drink in case they need an anaesthetic.
Young children are prone to choking, particularly from food or a toy stuck in the trachea (the airway). This keeps air from flowing normally in or out of the lungs, so the child can’t breathe properly.
As a parent, here are some things you need to know about choking:
- Don’t stick your fingers down their throat, it could worsen the situation.
- Encourage your child to cough out first
- If this doesn’t work, bend them forward while supporting the body and chin, and using the heel of your hand, give up to five sharp blows between the shoulder blades.
- Check their mouth for any obstruction and remove it.
- If the obstruction is still there, move on to abdominal thrusts by standing behind, wrap your arms around them and put one fist between their navel and ribs.
- Grab the fist with your other hand and pull sharply in and up, up to five times.
3. Clean and Dress Wounds
Most children get cuts and scrape once in a while, no matter how vigilant you are as a parent.
Since children are curious by nature, getting scrapes and cuts is only a natural rite of passage for them to explore the outside world.
As a parent, knowing how to clean and dress your child’s wound with these steps will let your child get back to playing.
- Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris,
- Apply a band-aid the right way.
- Examine the wound daily. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one.
- After the wound forms a scab, a bandage is no longer necessary.
- If the need to visit a doctor arises or wound is red, swollen, warm, or draining pus. Call your doctor.
First aid to give your child before they receive any medical treatment:
- Simple burns involving only the very surface of the skin do not need dressings.
- Immediately, cool the area under running water for at least ten minutes while gently removing any jewellery, watches or clothing from the area before it begins to swell.
- Cool the skin with a moist compress. Don’t put ice, butter or anything else directly on the burned
- Clean the skin gently with mild soap and tap water.
- Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to protect from infection
- If it’s severe, call an ambulance while you’re cooling the burn and treat for shock
- Raise the legs if possible, and keep the child warm, comfortable and reassured until help arrives.
5. Swallowed Poisons
Parents need to be very careful with any poisons around the house. However, if your child swallows poison – Stay calm, act fast! Unintentional poisonings from medicines and household chemicals kills children. Here is what you need to do;
- Get the item away from the child and try to make her spit out anything left in her mouth.
- Keep a sample (or what’s left in the container, if there is one) and give to ambulance crew in case there is need to identify the poison.
- If the child is conscious, ask them what they have swallowed, how much and when.
- Try to reassure them while you call for emergency help.
- If the child’s lips are burnt by the poison, give them sips of cold milk or water while waiting for help to arrive.
- Monitor and record the child’s vital signs while waiting for help.
- Give the doctor as much information as possible about the poison.
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