Most of us already have a first aid kit in the medicine cabinet, but chances are we aren’t thinking of many emergencies you may encounter that would require toddler first aid.
It’s hard enough to get through the day when you’re an adult, let alone those little ones. While your child may be adorable sometimes, you should always be prepared when they need help or aren’t feeling well.
Toddlers love to explore the world they live in. They run around, jump off everything and squeeze their fingers into the smallest cracks they can find. This is great, although these daring actions sometimes lead to injury. This guide will show you how to deal with common toddler first aid scenarios.
Why Is A Toddler First Aid Kit Important
A toddler first aid kit is important because it can save your child’s life.
Like most parents, you’ve probably had to deal with a minor injury or illness in your child at some point. You could probably handle it without much stress or worry, whether it was a scrape on the knee or a stomach bug.
But what happens when you’re not there? What happens if your child gets hurt while you’re at work? Or if she falls and hurts herself while playing with friends? In those cases, having a toddler first aid kit on hand can be the difference between an easy recovery and a trip to the hospital.
What makes a first aid kit | Image from Pexels
What Is Inside a First Aid Kit
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to find an item in your house. You know it’s there, but where? And then (like magic), you find it, and you can’t remember what it was for in the first place because your toddler has decided that now is the perfect time to play with it.
It is often helpful for parents to have some sort of first aid kit for emergencies when they are away from home or their main first aid supplies. A first aid kit for your toddler is a great idea, but if you don’t know what to put in one, here are some suggestions:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Bandages (various sizes)
- Styptic pencils
- Pain relievers (ibuprofen)*
- Antihistamines (Benadryl)*
- Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution (for cleaning wounds)
- Aloe vera gel (soothing for burns, cuts, rashes)
- Tweezers (for removing splinters or small objects from skin)
- Antibiotic ointment (for cuts and scrapes)
First Aid Tips for Parents: Choking
When a baby or toddler is choking, it’s important to act quickly! Remember these steps:
- Look for the obstruction. Can you see it? If not, ask your baby if he or she can cough it up.
- If you can’t see the obstruction and your baby can’t cough it up, try to remove it by using your finger to sweep out his or her mouth while supporting his or her head with your other hand.
- If the child is choking and you know how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre, do it. If you don’t know how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre, follow these steps:
- Use your fist to give 5 blows between your child’s shoulder blades.
- If that doesn’t work, use 2 fingers to squeeze your child’s chest between his breastbone and ribs about 2 inches (5 centimetres) below his nipples. Don’t press on his neck or ribs.
First Aid for Burns
There are a few different kinds of burns, but they all happen the same way: when heat touches your skin. If you’re with a baby or toddler and they get burned, it’s important to know how to respond.
First, if they look hurt, prepare to take your child to the hospital. You can always get an ambulance later if it turns out there’s nothing wrong.
If you’re not sure if they need medical attention, here are some steps for treating burns:
- Cool the burn with running water for at least 20 minutes—or until the pain disappears. Don’t put ice on it! Remember that babies’ and toddlers’ skin is thin and sensitive, so keep applying water until it feels better.
- If any blistering or blisters are forming—especially around a deep burn—cover them loosely with sterile gauze and bandage them so they don’t pop open and leak fluid into the wound (which can lead to infection).
- If the burned area is large enough that you have trouble covering it with clean bandages or gauze pads (and not just one or two small blisters), see a doctor immediately! The burn may be deeper than you think.
First Aid Treatment for Falls and Slips
Falls and slips are common injuries for babies, toddlers, and young children. They can be caused by a slip on a wet surface, or by falling from a height.
If you suspect your child has suffered from a fall or slip, it is important to act quickly to ensure they are safe. If the fall or slip has resulted in an injury, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The first step to treating a fall or slip is to check your child’s body for any signs of injury:
Look at the head and neck area, including the face and scalp. Look closely for any cuts or bruises on their head or face and any swelling around their eyes or neck.
Check for bumps on their back and spine. If your child has fallen hard enough to cause bruising around their back or spine, they may need immediate medical attention if they do not improve after several days of rest.
Check all limbs and joints for swelling or tenderness; if your child is experiencing pain when moving around after falling or slipping, this could indicate an injury that requires immediate medical attention.
If there are no obvious signs of injury, but your baby is still crying in pain from whatever happened, try giving them some Tylenol or Motrin (depending on their age) to help with swelling and discomfort. If this doesn’t work after about 15 minutes, call the doctor again to see what else can be done.
Image Source: iStock
First Aid for Cuts, Scratches and Bruises
Cuts and scratches are a part of life for babies and toddlers. The good news is that most cuts and scratches are not serious, but it’s important to know how to take care of them properly.
What to do:
- Clean the wound with soap and water. If there’s dirt or debris in the wound, gently remove it with tweezers or by irrigating with water.
- Apply pressure to stop bleeding by pressing a clean bandage over the wound, or apply pressure directly with your fingers for 10 minutes. If there’s no blood coming from the wound after 10 minutes of direct pressure, it’s safe to assume that you’ve stopped all bleeding.
- Use an antibiotic ointment or cream on any area contaminated by dirt or debris, as these can cause infections if left untreated (especially in children).
First Aid for Eye Injuries
Eye injuries are scary, but help is on the way.
If your baby or toddler has an eye injury, it’s important to act fast. Here’s what you should do:
- First, look at the injury. Does your baby or toddler have a cut in or around the eye? Is there any blood? If so, continue to step 2. If not, skip down to step 3.
- If your baby or toddler does have a cut in or around their eye, you’ll want to gently clean it with a clean cloth dipped in warm water and mild soap. Pat dry with another clean cloth. Do not rub the area! You want to avoid damaging any fragile tissue that might be damaged during rubbing.
- If your baby or toddler doesn’t have a cut in or around their eye, but they’re still complaining of pain or discomfort around it—or if you think they’ve hurt themselves somehow—you’ll want to take them to the doctor right away!
First Aid for Head Bump
Head bumps are a common injury for babies and toddlers. But don’t worry—you can take care of it at home!
First, wash your hands with soap and water to treat your child’s head bump. Then:
- Gently run your fingers through their hair to see if there is a cut or wound on their scalp. If there is, use clean gauze pads to soak up any blood or fluid from the wound before applying medication.
- If there doesn’t appear to be an injury, gently pat their head dry with a clean cloth or paper towel (if they’re old enough to sit still) or washcloth (if they’re not). Don’t rub too hard—you don’t want them getting redder than they already are!
- After patting dry the area around their head bump, use an ice pack wrapped in a washcloth or cloth diaper to keep ice on their skin for 10 minutes every hour until they feel better (usually 2-3 times over the day).
- When you’re done with treatment, put antibiotic ointment on any cuts or scrapes that appear on their scalp.
- Get your child to the doctor if there is any concern about whether the injury will heal properly (such as a skull fracture).
- Watch for signs of concussion and seek medical attention immediately if you see any of these symptoms: loss of consciousness, vomiting or nausea, confusion or disorientation, a headache that worsens over time, sensitivity to light and noise, dizziness or balance problems.
Photo from: flickr.com
First Aid for Nosebleeds
Ask your child to sit upright for nosebleeds, but not tilt their head back. Make sure there’s no tight clothing around their neck, then pinch the lower end of their nose to block the nostrils, and then let them lean forward while you apply constant pressure for about 15 minutes. Make sure not to stop to check if their nose has stopped bleeding before the 15 minutes are up since it could prolong the bleeding.
First Aid for Insect bites or Stings
The treatment for insect bites or stings depends on which insect stung your child. If it’s a bee sting, remove the stinger if it’s still embedded in your child’s skin. You can use a tweezer or scrape the skin with your nail or a credit card to remove it.
You can then apply a cold compress or calamine lotion to help reduce the itching and the burning sensation.
If your child suddenly has trouble breathing, coughing, or develops hoarseness in their voice, they could have an allergic reaction to the sting. So make sure to bring them to a doctor immediately if that happens.
Parent helping her child perform first aid
Always Have a First Aid Kit at Home
The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to keep your child safe.
The first three years of your baby’s life are a time of rapid growth and development, and it’s important that you’re ready for whatever comes your way. You know it can be scary when your little one is sick or injured—not just for them but for you too. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself with knowledge about handling all kinds of emergencies.
It’s easy to panic when something goes wrong, but everything will go smoothly if you’ve got a plan in place and know what to do.
Keep your first aid kit where the kids can’t reach it, but you can access it easily. You must also check the medicine’s expiration date to ensure you’re not using expired medication. If you notice anything unusual with your child after the accident, contact their paediatrician without delay.
*This article is republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Updates by Pheona Ilagan
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