Time Out Kids UAE
Health & wellbeing
Make sure you know what to do in an emergency
A SURPRISINGLY LARGE number of mums and dads wouldn’t know what to do in an emergency. However, learn the basics of family first aid and you could save lives.
Would you know what to do if your child was unconscious? What about if they started choking or fell over and split their chin open?
There’s nothing scarier than seeing your little one hurt or injured, but being prepared and knowing what to do will help you to stay calm in the event of a crisis.
JESS Dubai school nurse, Delyth Jones, shares the key basics of family first aid, which, will help you know how to react in various emergency situations you could face at home.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD IS CHOKING (MILD)
• Don’t panic.
• If a child or adult is choking they may clutch their throat, gag and cough.
• If you can see the object, ask then to spit it out.
• Don’t poke around blindly with your fingers.
• Encourage them to cough.
• Don’t leave them alone.
• Seek medical help if they still have a cough after choking or if they feel like something is still stuck in their throat.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD IS CHOKING (SEVERE)
• If your child isn’t coughing effectively, call the emergency services for help.
• If a child or adult is choking severely, they will be unable to speak, cry, cough or breathe and without help they will eventually become unconscious.
• There are first aid courses you can sign up to, which teach you how to deal with choking. There are different techniques to use depending on whether it is an Infant (less than a year old), child or adult choking. A first aid course will teach you the correct techniques to use in each situation.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD SWALLOWS SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE
Firstly, try to find out what the child has swallowed, keep them still. Make a call to the emergency services and give them as much information as possible. Do not attempt to make your child sick. Take the evidence of what was swallowed and, if the child vomits, keep a sample to show the emergency services. Prevention is key, make sure you keep medicine and household detergents, stored in their original containers, out of the reach of children and advise relatives to do the same.
Educate children about poisonous plants, fruits and seeds at as early an age as possible.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD HAS A TEMPERATURE
As a general rule a high temperature is 38 degrees Celsius or more and if they have a fever, you need to keep them at home.
Ensure your child receives plenty of fluids taken regularly as small sips if they’re feeling nauseas. Monitor them for signs of dehydration – these include feeling thirsty, dark yellow urine, dry eyes with no tears, dry mouth and lips. Keep an eye on how many times your child is passing urine, if it is fewer than four times a day, that is a cause for concern. Check for other signs of illness such as a rash. Give food if they want it and give them paracetamol (as per dosage instructions) if they are distressed or unwell. Check your child regularly during the night and use a digital thermometer to check and monitor temperature. If you are worried always seek further medical advice as well as if your child is under three months with a temperature 38 degrees Celsius or over, if between three and nine months with a temperature of over 39 degrees Celsius, has other signs of illness such as a rash, has a temperature that doesn’t come down with paracetamol.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD CUTS THEMSELVES
If it’s a minor cut and is bleeding apply pressure with a clean pad/dressing. Cover the wound with a plaster, gauze or non-adhesive dressing. If the bleeding is more severe, again apply pressure. Do not remove the gauze and add more layers if needed. The gauze will help clots to form and stop blood flow. If you can, elevate the area.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD HAS A NOSE BLEED.
Lean slightly forward, not back. Pinch the nose just below the bridge. Don’t pinch the nostrils closed by pinching lower. Check after five minutes to see if the bleeding has stopped. If not, continue pinching and check after another ten minutes. You can also apply a cold pack to the bridge of the nose whilst pinching.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD GETS STUNG BY AN INSECT
If there is one, remove sting, wash the skin, cool skin with a cold compress for at least ten minutes. Elevate area if possible to reduce swelling. Use an antihistamine to reduce swelling and itching if the area is inflamed and skin is irritated. Monitor for signs of anaphylaxis including hives, redness or itching to other parts of the body, and shortness of breath. If the child is known to be allergic to insect stings, use their Epipen to prevent anaphylaxis.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD GETS STUNG BY A JELLY FISH
Rinse the area of the sting generously with seawater (not fresh water) for at least 30 seconds. Remove the tentacles from the skin, using tweezers, gloves, a stick or a shell, being careful not to get the tentacles on yourself or on your clothing. Immerse the affected area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes or until the pain goes away. Use hot towels or flannels if you cannot soak the area.
WHAT TO DO IF… YOUR CHILD GETS BURNT
Hold the affected area under cold water for at least ten minutes or until the pain subsides. Remove potential constrictions such as bracelets or watches. Cover with clean non fluffy material to protect from infection. If at home, kitchen film or a clean clear plastic bag can be used to cover the burn. Do not wrap the burn tightly as swelling may lead to further injury. Do not touch the wound or apply lotions, creams or plasters. If area blisters do not break blisters. Paracetamol/Ibuprofen (as per instructions) can be given to ease the pain.