Burns, Bites, and Bumps on the Head!
One of the first words many parents teach children is “hot”!
Little fingers often explore hot curling irons, stove tops, fire places or other hot things. About 40,000 children are burned each year and half of these burns happen to children under age 4.
Burns hurt! Of course the best way to prevent burns is to protect your child with good child proofing in your home, but sometimes accidents just happen.
There are three levels of burns:
- 1st degree burn is dry, red and painful
- 2nd degree burn is red with blistering or moist skin and painful
- 3rd degree burn is white or charred, leathery and not painful
Immediate treatment of minor burns includes:
- Calm and reassure the child, and yourself!
- Run cool water over the burn or cover with a cool wet towel for several minutes. The faster you can cool down the skin, the more likely the burn will be less severe.
- Cover the burn with a dry, sterile bandage or dressing.
- Protect the burn from pressure and friction from clothing.
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for discomfort.
- If there is blistering over more than a small are of skin (2 to 3 inches) or if there is a burn on the hands, feet, face, groin area, bottom, or on a major joint, call your health care provider.
- If you have any concern or worry, call your health care provider.
- …Apply ointment, butter, ice, or any household remedy to the burn.
- …Break the blister or cut away dead skin.
- …Remove clothing stuck to burn.
Bites, both animal and people!
Animal bites by familiar dogs are quite common. At times, even the most docile family pet can bite a child when teased or irritated. Children who are at eye level with dogs are most at risk. Never trust your child alone with a dog…even the family pet. We also know that some children can be bitten by other children, it happens!
- Clean the wound with soap and water, let water run over the wound for a few minutes.
- Dry the wound and cover it with sterile gauze.
- Always call your health care provider if an animal or human bite breaks the skin. Many bites both animal and human require antibiotics to prevent infection.
- If your child was bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar or wild animal, report the incident to the local police. Some animals may have to be captured, confined, and observed for rabies. Do not try to capture the animal yourself!
Falls and bumps to the head are another common childhood accident.
There is nothing scarier than the sound of your child’s head hitting the floor! Most childhood falls result in injury to the scalp only. Those injuries are usually more scary than serious. But how do you know?
- Superficial head/scalp wounds bleed ALOT. The scalp is rich with blood vessels, so even small wounds bleed heavily.
- The “goose egg” that often appears is a result of the scalp’s vessels leaking blood under the scalp. It is often immediate, and usually not serious.
- Call the doctor if:
- Your child has lost consciousness; even for a moment
- Won’t stop crying
- Is difficult to awaken
- Seems off-balance and/or not acting like himself or herself
If your child is alert, comforts easily and is behaving normally after a head injury:
- Apply an ice pack to the area for a few minutes every couple of hours. If you use ice, always wrap it in a cloth or put it in a sock to protect the skin. A bag of frozen peas works great!
- Observe your child for the next 24 hours, if you aren’t comfortable with how your child is acting, give your healthcare provider a call.
- If your child falls asleep, (often happens if a child has been crying and upset) check in once or twice to see if there is any change in your child’s color or breathing. If all looks well, there is not need to keep waking your child.
- If you are uncomfortable with your child sleeping, wake your child by sitting him or her up. If your child fusses and then settles back down he or she is fine. If he or she does not waken, doesn’t fuss, or is very lethargic, give your health care provider a call.
Prevention of head injuries is always best! Be sure that your child wears a bike helmet when biking, skating, riding a scooter, or being towed on or behind a bike. (Parents, set a good example and wear your helmet too!) Be sure that football equipment is in good shape and fits properly. If you ever question that your child has a concussion, keep them from playing until they are cleared by the doctor and symptom free!
Preparation is the key to handling common injuries during childhood. Don’t over-react, but look at the situation and respond appropriately. Remember, your anxiety increases your child’s! More First Aid tips to come!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.