By Diane Forrest, RN
When I think back over the past 25 years, I am amazed that my son made it through with only a few bumps and bruises along the way. The first major incident he had was on his first birthday. I had baked him a cake in the shape of a clown, I used strawberry cake, because it was more "skin toned” After I cut him a piece, and allowed him to play in it I took him to the bathroom to clean him up. The trouble was, the "cake" wasn't coming off. I kept washing his face, but the more I washed, the redder it became. I finally realized, that it wasn't cake on his face that made him so red, he had broken out in hives from an allergy to the strawberries. Hives are simple to treat, just a little calamine lotion dabbed on the spots and in a few days they have disappeared. But that experience taught me to be more diligent in the care of my baby.
From the time they come home from the hospital children depend on you for their care and survival. It is the responsibility of the parents and other adults to protect the child from illness or accidents. From the time they come home from the hospital when they are buckled up in a car seat, until they begin to crawl and walk, and when they begin to drive. Children are quick; they can get into trouble in the blink of an eye. When my son was 2 years old, he pulled off his shoes, ran out the door and stood right in the center of a fire ant bed. His feet were covered with bites, and he had to be carried around for a week.
The first step in first aid for your child is prevention. You need to child proof your home and area where the child spends his or her time. There are several products available to keep children safe from danger. You can install simple devices that will keep doors and cabinets locked, and outlet plugs blocked. There are barriers to prevent children from falling down stairs, and from entering rooms they don't need to be in.
Once kids become mobile you need to have a first aid kit on hand. Items necessary for a kit include:
- First-aid manual
- Sterile gauze pads of different sizes
- Adhesive tape
- Adhesive bandages in several sizes
- Elastic bandage
- A splint
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
- Hydro-cortisone cream (1%)
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- Extra prescription medications (if the family is going on vacation)
- Sharp scissors
- Safety pins
- Disposable instant cold packs
- Calamine lotion
- Alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
- Tooth preservation kit
- Plastic non-latex gloves (at least 2 pairs)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- A blanket
- Mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross) your list of emergency phone numbers
- Blanket (stored nearby)
Make sure you are familiar with the manual and measures to take for a simple injury. For more serious injuries, you may want to take a first aid course at your local Red Cross office. This is particularly beneficial if your family has a pool or access to one or any body of water. Learn to perform CPR and how to perform the Heimlich maneuver in case of choking. A few hours in the class will provide you with a life time of life saving techniques that will benefit not only your family but others as well.
Kids are fast, they will eventually have cuts and scrapes, bumps and bruises. Most can be fixed with a hug or a band aid. For the more serious accidents, learn the proper techniques and be sure to have some telephone numbers to the poison hotline, hospital, and pediatrician close at hand.
For more specific actions to take, visit this site for information that will keep your family safe. http://kidshealth.org/parent/index.jsp?tracking=P_Home