First Aid Tips On How to Deal With Bumps and Bruises

As we welcome spring and kids start taking to the playgrounds, fields and courts, they'll likely find some trouble on their travels. Dr. Jeremy Friedman, chief of pediatric medicine at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, shares some great tips for dealing with common bumps and boo-boos

First Aid Tips On How to Deal With Bumps and BruisesNasty Nosebleeds

Children are especially prone to nosebleeds when they have a cold or allergies, which cause the tiny blood vessels in the wall between the two nostrils to become engorged with blood. At such times, a sneeze or a fingernail can easily start an impressive bleed! In general, while not very pretty and rather messy, nosebleeds are quite harmless. Very rarely, nosebleeds can be caused by an underlying tendency to bleed. Here is how to stop it if one occurs:

  1. Firmly squeeze together the two sides of the soft part of the nose just above the nostrils for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Be sure the head is tilted slightly forward so your child will not gag on, swallow and vomit blood.
  3. Try to stop your child from picking, touching, blowing and generally interfering with her nose for the next few hours. This is more easily said than done!
  4. If nosebleeds are an ongoing problem, try using a humidifier in her bedroom and apply some lubricating cream to the inside lining of the wall separating the nostrils.
  5. If the nosebleeds are frequent and severe, and especially if your child or another family member is prone to bruising or bleeding, take her to your doctor to test for an underlying problem.

Stubborn Slivers

Slivers or splinters are quite common in young children and are typically tiny pieces of wood or glass. In most cases, slivers should be removed to prevent discomfort and infection. If there are numerous tiny slivers of wood that are painless and very close to the surface, simply clean the area and let them come out as the skin cells are lost.

You will need some equipment if you’re planning to remove the sliver: a good pair of tweezers and a sharp needle sterilized in alcohol. Start by cleaning the area with an antiseptic solution. If you can grasp one end of the sliver with the tweezers, try to pull it out along the angle of entry. If this isn’t possible, superficial slivers can be removed by stroking the overlying skin softly with the needle to expose enough of the sliver to get hold of it with the tweezers or flick it out with the needle.

When the splinter is out, rewash the area with antiseptic and check on it daily for a couple of days to make sure that there is no sign of swelling, redness, creamy discharge, or pain, which may suggest infection.

Irritating Eye Problems

The most common eye problem children suffer is getting something “in” it, typically grains of sand, dirt, or an eyelash. It can be quite uncomfortable, with much rubbing of the eye. The eye then rapidly becomes red. With all the inevitable tears, the foreign material often disappears by itself, but if the situation doesn’t resolve itself quickly, the best solution is to try to flush the material out with lukewarm water. Meanwhile, encourage your child to stop rubbing the eye. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you will need to consult your health-care provider, who will be able to do a more detailed examination. If necessary, a drop of local anesthetic (freezing) can be used and the foreign material removed with a cotton-tipped applicator.

Essential First Aid Supplies

A first aid kit is extremely convenient for treating emergency injuries. You can buy kits at your local drugstore or customize your own. You can take your kit to the sports field, on camping trips, and on vacation. Keep one in the house and one in the car. Consider including the following components in your first aid kit. Include what seems most appropriate for your family and your individual comfort level.

First Aid Shopping List

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle, for removing slivers
  • Digital thermometer
  • Syringe, for flushing or giving medications
  • Bandages and Band-Aids of various sizes
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Povidone-iodine solution (such as Betadine) as a disinfectant
  • Alcohol pads, for cleaning
  • Topical antibiotic ointment
  • Cortisone cream, for bites or allergic reactions
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Antihistamine (e.g., Diphenhydramine or Benadryl)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol or Tempra)
  • EpiPen, if any risk of anaphylaxis
  • Bronchodilator inhaler, if any history of asthma
  • Penlight
  • Steri-Strips
  • Instant cold pack
  • First aid guide book
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