Kids are going to get scrapes and cuts now and then, this is an inevitable part of growing up. They’ll trip over their shoelaces, fall off their bikes, touch something they shouldn’t have touched, and everything short of throwing themselves off cliffs to see whether they’ll make a them-shaped hole in the ground like Wile E. Coyote. Short of wrapping them in a thick wad of cotton wool, the best thing you can do is simply to be there to give them proper first aid treatment when they’re hurt to make them feel better and help them get back outside. So it pays to know a thing or two about how to see their minor accidents as and when they arrive.
First of All
No matter what the injury, a fairly universal thing you need to do is keep the child calm. A child who is panicking is a child who is constantly moving, and this can make administering first aid difficult. It may also make the problem worse.
The easiest way to keep a child calm is to keep calm yourself. If you act as though a small scrape or cut is life-threatening, and make a huge fuss over it, then the child will take that cue and act accordingly. The result is a child who’s freaking out because they’ve been made to think an injury is much worse than it is. Conversely, if you treat the injury as though it is not at all serious – because these sorts of injuries never are – then the child will be reassured by your demeanor and start to calm down. Encouraging the child to keep calm and “be brave” are also very good ways to limit the amount of wriggling.
Another good thing to do is to wash your hands before treating any injuries. The most dangerous thing that could happen is an infection, so if your child runs to you with a scrape while you’re gardening or cleaning dirty dishes, then make sure your hands are clean before you look at their injury. Use anti-bacterial hand wash, and dry your hands thoroughly.
Treating the Wound
Cuts can be particularly traumatizing for a child because they tend to panic more at the sight of blood, and not unreasonably. So one of the first things to do is to clean away the blood. This not only makes the wound easier to see and clean, it can calm the child as well. Without all the mess in the way, they can probably see just how small the cut is. Grazes, while they don’t usually bleed as much, are often a lot more painful. In this case, gently rubbing the wound with your hand will soothe the pain a little and help the child feel more comfortable about having it treated.
If the wound is a cut, run it under cool running water, although try to avoid the temptation to use hot water. Don’t use any chemical disinfectants, as these will only cause your child further pain and won’t make the wound any cleaner than water could. Once the worst of the mess has been washed away, gently dab the rest of the wound clean with a clean cloth.
Grazes meanwhile, should be treated with an anti-bacterial swab to help clean the area. This will hurt, so you’ll need to keep your child calm as much as possible. If they are weathering the pain well, praise them for being so brave. Once the swab is done, clean it off with some clean water and a wad of cotton wool.
If you find any dirt or debris in the wound, stick a pair of tweezers into boiling water, and use them to carefully remove the bits. Once the cut has been cleaned, cover it over with a sticky band-aid. This will help keep it clean and protected as the cut heals.
Once a scab has formed; it can be exposed to air safely. However, if you think it is still in danger of becoming infected or, more likely, your child will pick at it, then feel free to keep it covered with a band-aid.
Deep Cuts and Tetanus
If the cut is particularly deep, you may want to make sure your children are up to date with their tetanus shots. If they aren’t, book an appointment to get one right away.