With summer vacation here, kids love to play and are very active all day long. Injuring themselves with small scrapes or bruises is common during summer camps, visits to the grandparents at their native or just having fun with the neighbourhood friends. To keep oneself informed about basic first aid for kids is a must. Here are a few quick tips and steps on the same…
NOTE: This article is on how to do basic first aid for kids and the details mentioned below are generic. Please note that if the kid’s injury is severe, do rush them to a hospital to avoid further problems.
The perfect first aid kit
This pouch or box of things is something that one needs to plan and put together when there are kids at home or around the area. They need to include the following items:
- Savlon/ Dettol or any anti-bacterial cleanser.
- Antiseptic or anti-bacterial cream/ powder.
- Cotton pads/ balls or earbuds.
- Compressed cotton pads and gauze.
- Plaster/ adhesive tape, band-aids or various sizes.
- Insect repellant cream/ spray/ patches.
- Allergy relief cream and kid-friendly medication.
- Basic medication for cough, cold, fever, pain and vomit.
- Portable cold/ hot packs.
If you are travelling or at your natives like villages or small towns, always carry this kit with you for safety and emergencies.
Keep the following things in mind:
• Cleaning the wound: Kids around the age of 2 – 7 are sensitive to pain, so using Savlon mixed with a little water to wash their wound is suggested as it is gentle on the skin and does not burn. Either Dettol or Savlon can be used to clean wounds of kids above the age of 7 years. Note: It’s always a must to get a tetanus injection within 24 hours of the fall to keep the kids from further harm.
• Wrap or no wrap: Analyse the depth of the injury to plan what kind of materials you would need to care for your child or if the doctor’s attention is needed. As its summer, the wind and heat help dry the wound faster, but it can get itchy and kids have no control over that.
Depending on if it’s a scrape, bruise or a cut, plan to use bandage wrap or Band-Aid or just leave it with some antiseptic powder or cream applied on it. For scrapes, you might not need a wrap as they are not deep but for bruises or cut, you will have to use a wrap or a band-aid to close it to avoid infection.
• Dressing: Plan how often you need to change the dressing of the kid as they tend to get infected soon. A regular change if the wound is deep or you can go for an alternate day routine if it’s a smaller wound. This might be one of the painful part thus have something to distract them or cheer them up during the process.
Check on the wound and decide if it needs dressing again or it’s healed enough to leave it open to dry. If it’s deep regular dressing is suggested, if it’s small or not too deep alternate days dressing can be done.
Here are the most important materials needed to treat different kind of injuries.
A slight tear of skin while running, climbing trees, playing in the mud or so on is sometimes unavoidable. This injury does not run deep but needs to be paid attention to so as to avoid further problems.
• Wash with Savlon/ Dettol and pat it dry with a soft cotton cloth. See to it that any dirt settled in the skin is washed away.
• Depending on the deepness of the scrape, plan and apply band-aid or leave it as it is to dry. When it comes to knee or elbow which are joints, use bigger band-aids to cover them as smaller ones might fall off. Keep the hand straight, stretch the skin around lightly and put on the band-aid.
Note: Don’t fold the joints and apply as they might become loose.
Wrap the injury with a plastic cover or give a sponge bath carefully to avoid water falling on the scrape for a few days till it starts drying.
These injuries are much deeper and take time to heal. They need extra care when it comes to treating them daily. Visit the doctor if the bleeding doesn’t stop.
• Wash the wound with Dettol/ Savlon and pat it dry.
• Analyse the wound and clean any dirt particles in it. You can use earbuds or cotton balls to remove the filth.
• Apply antiseptic cream, ointment or powder on and a little around the area.
• Place compressed cotton on the wound and wrap it neatly with a gauze. Or, you can apply a stretchable bandage and plaster it at the corners. Do not wrap them too tightly, they should be left breathable to help the wound heal.
Note: Change the dressing daily. You can do it on alternate days depending on the bruise.
When the kid is sitting or sleeping, keep their leg elevated on a pillow to avoid swelling or bleeding.
This is one of the most painful injuries that need extra care. No matter how big or small or deep the cut, always try to stop the bleeding. Elevate the area and put pressure on it with a cloth to stop the blood flow. If the cut is too deep and you are not able to stop the bleeding, stitches is a must as it may lead to fainting, puking or infections. In such cases, you should rush to the hospital.
• Stop the bleeding.
• Check the depth of the cut.
• Clean it with Savlon/ Dettol. You can use earbuds or cotton balls to remove the filth.
• Depending on the area of the cut and how big it is, figure out the kind of band-aid to use.
• For fingers, arms, calves, thigh you can go for a strip or circular band-aid.
• For joints, you can opt for square or circular band-aids.
Note: Wrap the injury with a plastic cover or give a sponge bath carefully to avoid water falling on the cut for a few days till it starts drying.
This wound apart from being painful also takes time to heal. As its summer and we sweat, the burn area will be tender. Depending on the degree of the burn or the severity of it, plan to treat at home or take to the doctor. This has a bubble on it which is filled with pus water which needs to break eventually. Do not force it open as it is extremely painful and dangerous as it might lead to attracting bacteria and infections.
• Do not apply water directly. Take a cloth and dip it in Savlon or Dettol water and squeeze the excess water out. Very gently and carefully dab it around the area.
• Apply ointment or cream meant for burn injuries and leave them open. Keep applying till the bubble breaks.
• Once the bubble breaks, you can clean the wound inside and apply ointment or powder and leave it to air dry.
Note: Avoid water on the area of the burn till it is semi-dry.
These are one of the most common injuries tend to happen. When it comes to a head injury, always talk to your kid and see how they respond. If they are dizzy or nauseous take them to the doctor immediately as they might have a concussion.
When the kid hurts their head, apply pressure on the bump gently and rub in a circular motion to stop the swelling. Once it is done and if they are responding normally under the pain, just make them lie down and apply ice pack. Give them something cold or sweet to sip on.
If the injury is on any other part of the body, check how tender the injured area is. If the bump keeps swelling up or turns red and blue, it is better to take the kid to the hospital as they might need an X-Ray. If the injury is not swelling, you can make your kid lie down, elevate the part of the wound and give ice pack till the swelling comes down.
As kids play in mud, garden, water insect bites are hard to avoid. Touching leaves that are poisonous without the knowledge or playing with stray pets might lead to tick or flea bites as well. These cause rashes and some of them spread across the body.
Once your kids are home after playing during the day/ night time, give them a bath and wash them with a few drops of antiseptic or antibacterial Dettol or Savlon after the bath.
• If they are going out in the evening, apply mosquito or insect repelling cream, spray or roll-on on the corners of their skin and the clothes. See to it that its kid-friendly products.
• If they have rashes, observe how itchy they are and also the state of the rashes that form. If it’s more visit the doctor.
• To treat at home, you can soothe the itching and the redness by taking cubes of ice and rubbing it on the infected area or applying Lacto calamine cream or aloe vera gel as it cools the skin.
A few natural ingredients that help treat and fight wounds and rashes that are easily available at home are:
Turmeric – It is antiseptic and helps treat wounds, cuts and bruises.
Aloe vera gel – Soothes the skin when it’s burnt or has rashes.
Neem leaf juice – Kills bacteria when applied to the infected area.
Coconut oil – To help avoid itching and scarring of the injuries when they are partially dry.
With the above in mind, always prepare a handy first aid kit to keep at home for immediate needs and make an on-the-go kit to carry while travelling. Also pack in their basic medications for cold, cough, fever, tablets that help stop vomiting or nausea and pain relief cream.
For kids who are younger, make their kit more colourful with cartoon printed band-aids and wraps to help distract them. If your children are visiting relatives or going on a trip elsewhere, pack a safety kit and put in their backpack. If they are old enough, teach them how to use it during emergencies, as they are quick learners.
Article by Namratha