Follow this homecare guide and be in the know when helping your children cope with life’s little emergencies.
When common accidents and injuries arise, Mom, Dad or caretaker often come to the rescue. But what can you handle safely? And when should you seek expert help?
This do-it-yourself guide includes information for handling some of the little emergencies that may arise and also offers tips on prevention. Keep this handy and you’ll be ready to meet life’s little bruises like a pro. Add a little Tender Loving Care (TLC) and your child will be on the go in no time!
Cuts and scrapes. If your child has a cut or scrape, some quick action on your part can make him or she feel better and heal faster. The first step is to stop the bleeding by applying firm pressure using a clean cloth, if possible.
Be careful not to apply too much pressure or you can cut off circulation. In most cases, the bleeding should stop after a few minutes. At this point, you can check the wound.
Be sure to seek help from a health care professional if:
- Blood is spurting and bright red– indicating injury to an artery.
- Bleeding lasts longer than 10 minutes after direct pressure is applied to the area.
- The wound is deep and the edges of the surrounding skin do not come together smoothly.
- The wound area is large and/or on the face.
After the bleeding stops, clean the area with soap and water, gently rubbing with gauze. Many kids are frightened to have a wound cleaned, so it is important to explain that this will take only a few minutes and shouldn’t hurt.
If there is dirt in the wound, soaking it for about 10 minutes in warm water helps to dislodge it. It may be necessary to remove debris with tweezers or your fingers and a clean gauze pad.
Be sure to wash your hands carefully first if removing debris by hand. If you use tweezers, sterilize them by rubbing with alcohol or by heating the tips (make sure the tips are cool before using!).
If you are unable to remove all the debris or it is ground in, you may need to see your health care professional. After cleaning, apply an antibacterial ointment and a bandage to keep the wound clean. If the wound is small, you may leave it exposed to the air. Note that wounds on the knee or other areas that bend may heal slowly.
When selecting a bandage, choose one that’s easy to remove. Change the bandage daily, checking each day for signs of infection, such as increasing redness or drainage.
Once a light scab forms, the bandage can be removed. Teach your kid to avoid picking at the scab, since this decreases the chance of scarring. Use liquid bandages to protect a cut or scrape.