Learning basic first aid can mean the difference between your child living or dying.
All parents and caregivers of children should be aware of these basic first aid steps for dealing with common conditions.
Basic first aid for scrapes and cuts is just that… basic.
Most childhood cuts and scrapes will bleed a bit before the bleeding stops on its own. Cleaning the wound with mild soap and water to remove dirt and debris is often all that is necessary once the bleeding has stopped.
If it will make you feel better, or if the cut or scrape comes from something rusty, dirty, etc., applying a thin layer of antibiotic ointment is a good idea. A bandaid can also be applied if you think it’s necessary (or, in some cases, if it makes your child feel better).
Insect bites and stings
Insect bites need a bit more attention than cuts and scrapes. Diseases carried by insect bites are real and can happen to you or your child.
When your child receives a bite form an insect, you should apply ice and/or anti-itch cream (follow directions regarding infants and small children) and keep an eye on the bite to make sure it doesn’t become infected (due to scratching and itching).
Signs of infection include the bite area increasing in size, becoming red and/or warm to touch and/or the bite oozing pus or a discharge. For more serious occurrences, oral antihistamines may be necessary.
Insect stings should be handled in much the same way as bites, with the following additional treatment:
- Remove the stinger using tweezers or your fingernail.
- Apply ice to numb the pain.
- Administer children’s acetaminophen for pain.
- Watch for signs of anaphylactic shock.
Burns are categorized into 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns.
First degree burns leave the skin red. The area can be warm and painful, but no blistering is present.
This type of burn should be treated in the following manner:
a) Cool the burn by allowing a gentle stream of cool (not cold) water run over the burn area for several minutes.
b) Follow this up by covering with a sterile bandage. NO butter, ointments or anything else should be applied without a doctor’s advice.
c) GIve oral over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen for children if needed.
Second degree burns are burns that result in blistering, swelling, intense redness and pain on the burn area.
Treat second degree burns that are less than 3 inches in diameter the same way you would treat a first degree burn. Larger second degree burns should be treated in the same manner as third degree burns.
Third degree burns are burns that invade all layers of the skin and cause permanent tissue damage. This mean that fat, muscle and even bone tissue may possibly be affected.
The skin may be charred black or appear dry and white. People who have suffered third degree burns may have difficulty breathing or may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning or other toxic effects of smoke inhalation.
To treat burns of this severity, you should cover the burned area with a clean, cool, moist cloth, elevate the burned area, check for breathing difficulties and act accordingly. It is crucial, too, to seek immediate medical attention.
Also, remember that you should NOT remove burned clothing, pour water over the burn or submerge the burn in water, or attempt to remove burned skin or pop blisters.