FIRST AID FOR OUCHIES
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.
SCRAPES AND GRAZES
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