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First Aid for Early Years

2 years ago, my husband and I attended first-aid training for babies and toddlers in Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. While we aim and work so hard to be present, accidents and events sometimes overtake us.

Here are some notes to share with you.

1. First-aid bag

Always, always keep a first-aid kit in your home, and within reach (had to note this as I know we have nannies and other people who come and go and fix stuff in our house)

Inside the kit would be a sanitized towel in a sealed bag, saline solution, some cotton and buds, and gauze and tape.

2. Wounds

Wounds of young children are pretty quick to heal. The ones that are not too deep take about 5 to 7 days to heal, while the deep ones that need stitching, about 2 to 3 weeks.

3. Cleansing and caring for the wound

Clean around the wound with a clean bud. You can do a saline wash right away; alcohol will be painful, so just do the saline wash. It takes about three days for the skin to regenerate so best not to cover the shallow wound. Apply light dabs of Betadine on top as prescribed. Make sure to look for signs of infection (redness around the wound, yellow/ green discharge).

4. Nose-bleeding

When a toddler’s nose bleeds, let him/ her sit upright, head tilted/ looking down. Apply pressure on the bony structure on the top of the nose and ask him/ her to breathe through the mouth first. Do this for 2 to 5 minutes. Rub ice wrapped in a thin cloth or an ice pack on the forehead closer to the nose.

5. Head Injury

When a child bumps his/ her head, watch out for the following: projectile (forceful) vomiting within 24 hours from the bump, change in mood, consciousness, lethargy, or muscular weakness (this would mean longer naps for babies and excessive crankiness or weakness)

6. Convulsion

High fever can trigger convulsion from babies 6 months to 5 years. Fever for babies below six months need medical attention right away.

What to do in this case: cushion the head; lay the child down to ensure he/she will not fall. Remove harmful objects around and check for tight clothing. This usually lasts 60 seconds (epilepsy takes longer). The child may wake up very exhausted so just monitor the breathing. ENSURE that the child is hydrated well. Another may happen in the next peak of fever.

7. Sunburn/ Light Burns

Sunscreens, even labeled baby-friendly, may cause chemical burn when exposed to a long period under hot temperatures.

Shower longer (with cool water) and keep hydrated.

For light burns, let the affected skin go under cool, running water for 15 to 20 minutes. Blisters may appear but never poke them. It may take 7 to 10 days for healing. While it is commonly prescribed to use honey, toothpaste, Vaseline, aloe vera, please, please DON’T use any other ointment except the one prescribed as it may only trap the heat inside.

For CPR application, drowning, choking, and more serious cases of burn, it is best to get to your local hospitals for practical training.

Hope these help! Praying we don’t get caught in these situations!

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