Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

From the time they’re mo­bile, lit­tlies start get­ting in­jured. Most of the time, all they need to stop the cry­ing is a kiss and a stick­ing plas­ter, but it’s worth hav­ing a first-aid kit of dis­in­fect­ing po­tions for in­juries that might be a bit more se­ri­ous.


Grazes are the most com­mon skin in­jury, and par­ents soon know about it be­cause al­though usu­ally mi­nor, they can hurt a lot.

Com­fort­ing the dis­tressed child and the fol­low­ing home treat­ment is usu­ally all that’s needed:

Gen­tly clean the area to re­move dirt which could lead to in­fec­tion. Smooth on an­ti­sep­tic if needed. Ap­ply a dress­ing, if only to make the child hap­pier. It will heal faster if left uncovered for 24 hours.

When to see a doc­tor: If the cut looks deep or is gap­ing; if it’s dif­fi­cult to stop the bleed­ing; if the graze is ex­tremely large and may have caused other in­juries; if the wound be­comes in­fected. If your child loves play­ing bare­foot on the grass, pat­ting dogs and climb­ing trees, they’re go­ing to get bit­ten and stung no mat­ter how much you pro­tect them.

Most bites aren’t dan­ger­ous – likely per­pe­tra­tors are mozzies, bees, wasps, sand flies, sea lice and ants – but they do hurt and are likely to cause tears. In most cases, in­sect stings and bites can be treated at home in th­ese ways: Wash the bite area. Ap­ply an anti-itch or -st­ing lo­tion. Use an ice pack or a cool face washer to ease pain and swelling.

While bumps and rashes from a st­ing are tech­ni­cally an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, if a child has ex­treme swelling or ex­ces­sive itch­i­ness, an an­ti­his­tamine may be a good op­tion. Talk to your phar­ma­cist as th­ese can make chil­dren drowsy.

When to see a doc­tor: A se­vere “ana­phy­laxis” re­ac­tion can be life-threat­en­ing, so if your child has any swelling of the lips or tongue or dif­fi­culty breath­ing, seek ur­gent med­i­cal at­ten­tion. Also see a GP if they have a re­ac­tion such as hives on other body parts; if they have a lot of pain that doesn’t set­tle in a few hours; if the swelling or itch­ing wors­ens af­ter 24 hours. More than 12,000 kids aged four years and un­der were ad­mit­ted to Aus­tralian hos­pi­tals for burns be­tween 1999 and 2004 – and more than 46,000 peo­ple across all age groups in to­tal.

The Burns Re­search In­sti­tute at the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal at West­mead has th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions for mi­nor burns first-aid:

Re­move cloth­ing, un­less it’s stuck to the skin.

Cover un­burnt ar­eas with dry clothes or a blan­ket.

Run cold wa­ter onto the burn for at least 20 min­utes.

Never use ice, creams or but­ter to treat burns. If the burn is se­vere or over a large area; if it in­volves the face, hands, feet, gen­i­tals, bot­tom or any area larger than a 20-cent piece. While seek­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion, con­tinue cool­ing the burn area us­ing a fine mist spray or fre­quently changed soaked dress­ings.

Scrapes, grazes, bites and stings are part and par­cel of childhood. Here’s how par­ents can pre­pare

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