How to handle an emergency before rushing your child to a doctor?

How to handle an emergency before rushing your child to a doctor? Banner

Children, particularly babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are curious by nature. They want to touch, smell and taste everything they can get their hands on. This curiosity can lead to dangerous situations when they accidentally swallow something not meant to be eaten. Sometimes kids get hurt, and it is not possible (or even a good idea) to protect them from all the bumps, bruises, scrapes, and falls of childhood. These are just a part of growing up for an active and curious child.

In this article, Mommunity will help you feel prepared and to keep your child calm, the next time they hurt themselves.

Here’s how to handle emergencies from bumps and burns to nosebleeds and twisted ankles like a pro and help your child stay calm in the process, before rushing to a doctor.

1. Head Injury

The Signs: After a bump on the head, signs of a concussion can include passing out (even briefly), severe headache, vomiting, confusion, sleepiness, or difficulty walking.

What to Do Immediately: Check your child. If he/she seems to have hurt their neck (which is possible if they fell on their head) or they have any weakness or tingling in their arms, keep them still and get help. If they bump their head at a sports event, they must stop playing at once to avoid a second injury. Also, get help if they pass out after a fall and have trouble waking up. Go to an emergency room in case of a severe headache or if they’re confused, much sleepier than usual, stumbling, persistently vomiting, or doing anything else that’s worrisome.

Don't: Give ibuprofen to a kid with a head injury. The drug may lead to excessive bleeding, which can be dangerous when there’s the potential risk (even a super-slight one) of a brain injury

Do (if minor): Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas in a thin towel and place it over the area to reduce swelling. You can also offer acetaminophen for pain. As long as your child seems like his usual self, just observe him for changes in symptoms or behaviour.

2. Severe Allergic Reaction

The Signs: Their face or lips might swell, and they may cough or breathe with difficulty. Dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhoea are also possible signs of severe allergic reactions.

What to Do Immediately: Use an epinephrine injector (such as an EpiPen) if available. Even if they seem better afterwards, take them to an emergency room where the effects of the medication can wear off. If they are experiencing difficulty in speaking or breathing, call for a doctor immediately. Make your child comfortable and check if you have any Benadryl (diphenhydramine) in the house, and give it to your child as you wait for help to arrive.

3. Chipped or Knocked-Out Tooth

The Signs: Apart from the obvious dental damage, the area around their mouth might be red.

What to Do Immediately: Call your dentist immediately, especially in case of a permanent tooth. A chipped tooth with an exposed nerve needs immediate attention. Place a knocked-out permanent tooth back in its socket as soon as possible, try if your child can hold it in its spot by biting a paper towel or a clean washcloth. Rinse the tooth gently if required. Otherwise, reserve the tooth in a sealed container with milk or a bit of saliva.

4. Nosebleed

The Signs: Again, this is an injury that is difficult to miss. Most nosebleeds look worse than they are.

What to Do Immediately: Have your child tilt their head forward slightly, and then pinch the nose tightly just below the nasal bone with a towel or a wad of tissue. Squirting just a little Nasal Spray into each nostril may help too. Remain in this position for 10 to 15 minutes to try to stop the bleeding. You can dab Vaseline on the inside of the nostril to keep it moist, an hour or so after the nosebleed stops and a clot is formed.

Don't: Allow your child to lean back. Prevent your kid from blowing her nose for several hours, as even a short, gentle blow could trigger the bleeding again. Do not stuff tissue or cotton up their nostril.

When to Get Help: If the bleeding doesn’t stop in 30 minutes or if you suspect the child’s nose to be broken because it looks out of place, head to the doctor.

5. Broken Bone

The Signs: If you suspect the bone to be crooked or sticking out, it’s broken. However, it is often less clear. Post-injury, if the child is in a lot of pain, has swelling in the injured area, throws up, or feels light-headed, a bone may be broken.

What to Do Immediately: Make the child comfortable and move the affected limb as little as possible. Call for a doctor if the bone is sticking out or crooked or if he’s in serious pain.

6. Eye Injury

The Signs: Your child might be in a lot of pain and will rub or press on their eye(s), which may be red or tearing heavily.

What to Do Immediately: Head to the doctor if there’s obvious damage to the eye or if whatever is in it has burned his face too. Try to keep it open as best you can and pour saline solution or tap water into it. Do not force the eye open or flush it in case of an injury from a direct blow or an object.

7. Choking

The Signs: The child may hold their hands to the throat or faint, and have trouble breathing. It can happen while they’re eating or playing if they swallow something not meant for eating.

What to Do Immediately: Keep talking. If your child can answer you with simple sounds, the airway is clear. If he can’t respond, get help. Then wrap your arms around your child’s waist, make a fist, and place the thumb side of your fist against his upper abdomen (just below the rib cage). Now clutch your fist with your other hand and perform quick, upward thrusts until the item is expelled. (In case of a baby or a toddler, pick up your child, turn them facedown, and use the heel of your hand to deliver firm back blows between their shoulder blades.)

Don't: Respond aggressively. If your child is coughing but can talk, let them cough up the item. Resist the urge to put your fingers in his mouth or down their throat.

When to Get Help: If their breathing seems strange or they can’t speak normally after the accident, head straight to the doctor if your child becomes unresponsive.

8. Bleeding Wound

The Signs: A cut is serious when the bleeding doesn’t stop even after applying pressure for a few minutes.

What to Do Immediately: Clean the wound with tap water and soap, apply an antibiotic ointment, and put on a bandage. If the blood is visible through the bandage, apply direct pressure for 15 minutes and elevate the injured area above the heart to stop the bleeding.

Don't: Clean a wound with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or Betadine (an antiseptic). Alcohol stings are painful, and hydrogen peroxide and Betadine can damage the skin, also preventing healing.

When to Get Help: If the wound is big, gaping, or gushing blood, your child might need stitches, so head to your doctor. Call for a doctor, if deep tissues are visible, ligaments, or bone; if you can’t stop the bleeding within 15 minutes; or if you think there may be a foreign body embedded. Don’t wait too long: If the cut is open for more than 24 hours, then there’s a higher risk of infection. Most doctors will clean, dress, and bandage the wound as it is a safe route to healing that may cause slightly more scarring.

9. Poisoning

The Signs: Symptoms depend on the poison. The most common ones are burns on the mouth, difficulty breathing, sleepiness, and vomiting.

What to Do Immediately: If the child is having trouble breathing or staying awake, get help. It’s helpful if you know what they ingested; if possible, have the container handy and be ready to tell the doctor what your child’s weight is and how much you think she consumed.

10. Burns

The Signs: The skin could be very red and blistered. The worst kind, a third-degree burn, can appear white or black.

What to Do Immediately: Hold the area under a cool tap for 10 to 15 minutes to cool the skin, ease pain, and stop inflammation (You can repeat this process if required or substitute ice wrapped in a towel for the next 24 to 48 hours). Then, apply an antibiotic ointment to soothe the burn and help skin cells regenerate. You can give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen too if you feel they’re still in pain. But if a blister is formed, let it be, that bubble is a barrier that helps prevent infection. Once the blister bursts on its own, apply an antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage.

Don't: Use vitamin E or butter as both of these can be irritating. And never place ice directly on a burn it can cause tissue damage.

When to Get Help: If your child’s skin looks very red, splotchy, wet, or waxy, or if they cannot move it, they may have a severe burn that requires immediate medical attention. You should head straight to the doctor in case of any type of chemical burn; if a burn is the size of his palm or larger; or it is on the face, ears, hands, genitals, or feet; or if it extends around his wrist or the circumference of another extremity, like an arm or a leg.

11. A Twisted Ankle

What to Do Immediately: Help your child sit down and elevate the injured ankle above the level of the heart with an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies wrapped over it. Continue to apply ice to the area for 15 minutes every hour, for the next 48 hours. Ibuprofen can also help reduce pain and swelling.

Don't: Apply a heating pad or let her soak the injured foot in a warm tub for the first 48 hours. Heat can increase swelling and pain.

When to Get Help: If your child can’t bear weight on the injured ankle or if it looks deformed, go to the doctor or an urgent care centre. These are signs of a broken or dislocated ankle.

Published on: 12th July 2021