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Health & Wellness

First aid for children

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Is your little adventurer someone who “touches everything and climbs everywhere?” Then, you’re likely to hear more than your fair share of, “Mum, dad, I’m hurt.”

Les premiers soins chez l’enfant

The wonder of watching our children take their first steps is generally followed by the stress of seeing them fall. Burns, scratches, and cuts are part and parcel of your spunky explorer’s misadventures. So, we’d like to share a few tips to help you give first aid to your little one. The free Info- Santé helpline is also an excellent resource on this subject. By calling 8-1-1, you can quickly reach a nurse for advice on non-emergency health problems.

First aid for scratches

Your child is learning to ride the bicycle, and oops, hurtles down the slope too quickly: he falls and ends up with a grazed knee. Here are a few tips to clean his wound:

  • Wash your hands with soap so that you don’t contaminate the wound.
  • Wash the wound with clean water and mild soap. Make sure that there are no traces of grit or dust left.
  • Rinse the wound with lots of water.
  • Apply an ointment or antibiotic cream to promote healing.
  • Dress the wound with a bandage that can breathe.
  • Choose an absorbent bandage.
  • Change the bandage when it’s soiled, at least once a day.
  • Clean the wound every time the bandage is changed.
  • If the bandage sticks, soak the wound in lukewarm water and remove the soiled bandage gently.
  • Don’t bandage the wound when a scab has formed. Protect it during activities.
  • See a healthcare professional as soon as signs of infection (heat, pain, fever, swelling, pus, redness) appear.

First aid for burns

You turn your head for one second and your little darling puts her hand on the hot stove.

Here are a few tips to bring relief to the burn, if it is minor:

  • Immediately apply cold water or cold water compresses on the burn.
  • Do not prick the blisters that form because they protect the burn.
  • Loosely bandage the burned area with a non-adhesive compress.
  • Give the child an analgesic such as acetaminophen to ease the pain.
  • Watch for signs of infection (such as increased pain, redness, or pus formation) and speak to your pharmacist if you see them.

You must seek immediate medical attention if:

  • the burn covers a large area of the skin;
  • it is a third-degree burn (all layers of the skin are affected and it has turned white or become charred);
  • the source of the burn is electric or chemical.

First aid for cuts

Your “big one” starts running on the wet floor of the bathroom and gets a nasty gash from falling on the corner of the shower.

Here are a few tips to care for the cut:  

  • Staunch the flow of blood by applying pressure on the wound with a bandage or a clean towel.
  • Clean the cut with soapy water.
  • Run water on the cut for a few minutes.
  • Use butterfly closures to help bring the two sides of the wound together for a neater scar.
  • See a doctor quickly if the cut is very deep.
  • Watch for signs of infection (redness, pus, etc.)

First aid for nosebleeds

Your nephew has hit his nose falling from the sofa and it is bleeding profusely.

Here are few tips to stop the bleeding:

  • Reassure the child.
  • Make him sit and bend his head slightly forward.
  • Ask him to breathe through the mouth and not the nose.
  • Pinch the nostrils just below the bony part with your thumb and index finger and apply pressure for ten minutes.
  • See a doctor if the bleeding continues.

First aid for foreign particles in the eyes

Your little girl is playing in the sandbox with her friend and gets some sand in her eye.

Here are a few tips to clean her eyes:

  • Run a gentle stream of lukewarm tap water over the eye. If the child refuses to let this be done, make her lie on her back, keep her eye open, and gently pour water directly into the eye from a glass.
  • Remove any grain of sand or foreign particle from the corner of the eye by using the corner of a moist handkerchief.
  • See a doctor or an optometrist if the eye continues to tear or if the redness does not go away.
  • Tell your child not to rub her eye.

If your child has sprayed her eyes with a product, such as a household cleaner or detergent, which is likely to produce a burning sensation, wash the eye immediately with water for 15 minutes and see a doctor as soon as possible.

First aid for insect bites

You are out camping and your children have become a feast for mosquitoes.

Here are a few tips to bring relief to insect bites:

  • Clean the bite with water and soap.
  • Apply a cold water compress for a few minutes to reduce the itching and swelling.
  • Remove the sting if it’s visible.
  • Apply a compress containing a mixture of water and baking soda.
  • Watch for signs of infection (increase in redness and swelling, oozing) and see the doctor if any of these appear.
  • Ask your pharmacist to suggest an over-the-counter medication for topical application to reduce the swelling and itching, if necessary.
  • Tell your children not to scratch the bites so that the risk of infection is minimized.

Having a first aid kid handy could prove very useful to you to respond quickly to your child’s minor accidents. Ask your pharmacist for advice to help you fill the kit. Check the expiry dates of different products in the kit every year. And now, you will be able to enjoy yourself in the summer with a calm mind, ready to face any contingency!  

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