Abu Dhabi: When a child is injured, a few basic measures can make further treatment easier and recovery less complicated, an emergency care specialist said.
“With inquisitive young children, injuries are common. The difference lies in how well a caregiver can respond to the emergency before medical attention arrives,” Dr Soha Al Baz, emergency specialist at Burjeel Hospital, told Gulf News.
In many cases, children may not need hospitalisation if the caregiver knows what to do. Knowledge of first aid can also ensure that caregivers do not aggravate injuries unknowingly.
“We often see that nannies have applied toothpaste or flour to a burn or scald, and this is not the right thing to do. The paste is absorbed into the skin and removing it when we clean the burn can actually be painful. First aid training will teach you to wash a burn or scald with cold water, then apply a wound care ointment before help arrives,” Dr Al baz explained.
Another common paediatric emergency is eye injury.
“Some caregivers apply tea bags when children complain, but the correct course of action is to wash the eyes and seek medical help. Caregivers should also know that medical help must be sought if children complain of hazy vision or redness in the eyes,” the doctor advised.
Insufficient knowledge of first aid also means that caregivers do not know how to handle and carry children, which is why pulled elbow is a common injury.
“Nannies and babysitters also mistakenly try to set fractures and dislocation of limbs, and this just displaces the bone further. Another common mistake is putting anything other than a compression on a bleed,” she explained.
According to the doctor, knowledge of first aid would also highlight the need to keep toxic cleaning agents away from children, and to seek immediate medical assistance.
“We can wash out the stomach (gastric lavage) in the first four hours after poisoning occurs to prevent toxicity, and caregivers need to be aware of the need to rush to the hospital in an instance like this,” she explained.
The doctor advised nannies, maids, babysitter, parents and anyone involved in the care of children to seek first aid training.
How knowing first aid can help
In case of an injury, correctly administered first aid enables:
Possible prevention of long-term injury or damage
• In all places and situations, first assess the risks of a child being injured and remove any harmful objects. Also keep them away from sharp corners and edges at all times, and keep medicines, cleaning chemicals and other toxic substances out of reach.
• In case of a burn: Wash with cold water, then apply a wound care ointment like Mebo. Do not use toothpaste or flour as this gets absorbed into burnt skin and must be painfully removed before further treatment.
• In a case of an eye injury: Wash the eyes immediately with running water and rush to a doctor. Do not apply teabags or other substances that can irritate the eye further or make vision hazy. If you notice redness in the eyes, it is a possible warning sign that the eye has sustained an injury.
• In case of a fall: Seek medical help for all fractured or broken limbs. Do not try to set it on your own as this could displace the bone or joint further.
• In case of poisoning: Rush to the doctor as the stomach can be washed in the first four hours to prevent toxicity.
• In case of a bleed: If bleeding doesn’t stop, apply a gauze over the bleed tightly and go to a doctor. Do not use other materials, like coffee seeds or unclean cloths, which can cause the wound to become infected.
Source: Dr Soha Al Baz