First Aid Guide for Kids
Most small cuts don't present any danger to your child. But bleeding from large cuts may require immediate medical treatment. Depending on the type of wound and its location, there can be damage to tendons and nerves.
What to do:
For Minor Bleeding From a Small Cut or Abrasion (Scrape):
Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris.
Then wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly. (For minor wounds, it isn't necessary to use an antiseptic solution to prevent infection, and some can cause allergic skin reactions.)
Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and adhesive tape. Examine the wound daily. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one. After the wound forms a scab, a bandage is no longer necessary.
For Bleeding From a Large Cut or Laceration:
Wash the wound thoroughly with water. This will allow you to see the wound clearly and assess its size.
Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the entire wound. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to possible infection from the blood of a child who isn't your own. If you can, raise the bleeding body part above the level of your child's heart. Do not apply a tourniquet.
Using the palm of your hand on the gauze or cloth, apply steady, direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes. (During the 5 minutes, do not stop to check the wound or remove blood clots that may form on the gauze.)
If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. Apply another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure.
Call your child's doctor or seek immediate medical attention for all large cuts or lacerations, or if:
you're unable to stop the bleeding after 5 minutes of pressure, or if the wound begins bleeding again (continue applying pressure until help arrives)
you're unable to clean out dirt and debris thoroughly, or there' s something else stuck in the wound
the wound is on your child's face or neck
the injury was caused by an animal or human bite, burn, electrical injury, or puncture wound (e.g., a nail)
the cut is more than half an inch long or appears to be deep - large or deep wounds can result in nerve or tendon damage.
Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains A broken (fractured) bone requires emergency care. Suspect a possible broken bone if your child heard or felt a bone snap, if your child has difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.
A sprain occurs when the ligaments, which hold bones together, are overstretched and partially torn. Simply overstretching any part of the musculature is called a strain. Sprains and strains generally cause swelling and pain, and there may be bruises around the injured area. Most sprains, after proper medical evaluation, can be treated at home.
What to Do:
For a Suspected Broken Bone:
If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping your child's head, neck, and back in alignment, move the child as a unit.
If your child has an open break (bone protrudes through the skin) and there is severe bleeding, apply pressure on the bleeding area with a gauze pad or a clean piece of clothing or other material. Do not wash the wound or try to push back any part of the bone that may be sticking out.
If your child must be moved, apply splints around the injured limb to prevent further injury. Leave the limb in the position you find it. The splints should be applied in that position. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
Place cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth on the injured area.
Keep your child lying down until medical help arrives.
For a Suspected Sprain or Strain:
If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping the head, neck, and back in alignment, move your child as a unit.
It may be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break. If there is any doubt whatsoever, phone your child's doctor or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department. An X-ray can determine whether a bone is broken.
First aid for sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as RICE).
Rest the injured part of the body.
Apply ice packs or cold compresses for up to 10 or 15 minutes at a time every few hours for the first 2 days to prevent swelling.
Wearing an elastic compression bandage (such as an ACE bandage) for at least 2 days will reduce swelling.
Keep the injured part elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.
Do not apply heat in any form for at least 24 hours. Heat increases swelling and pain.
Your child's doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Dehydration Under normal conditions, we all lose some body water every day in our sweat, tears, urine, and stools. Water also evaporates from our skin and leaves the body as vapor when we breathe. We usually replace this body fluid and the salts it contains with the water and salts in our regular diet.
If your child has fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, or is sweating a lot on a hot day or during intense physical activity, you should watch for signs of dehydration, which can include:
- dry or sticky mouth
- few or no tears when crying
- eyes that look sunken into the head
- soft spot (fontanelle) on top of baby's head that looks sunken
- lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in an infant (or only a - very small amount of dark yellow urine)
- lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
- dry, cool skin
- lethargy or irritability
- fatigue or dizziness in an older child
The best way to prevent dehydration is to make sure kids gets plenty of fluids, whether they're sick or just physically active. In other words, you need to make sure that they're consuming more fluids than they're losing (from vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating).
The way you should keep a child adequately hydrated will differ depending on the circumstances. For example, a child with a sore throat may become dehydrated due to difficulty drinking or eating. Easing the pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help. Cold drinks or popsicles can also soothe a burning throat while supplying fluids at the same time.