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6 Tips on dealing with accidents at home

 
Do you know what to do if your child has an accident at home, perhaps fell on their head or were choking on their food? Learning about first aid and acting quickly and confidently in those vital first minutes could be the difference between your child’s life and death. Check out these 6 tips on dealing with accidents at home that could help save your child’s life.
Check out these 6 tips on dealing with accidents at home that could help save your child’s life.

Do you know what to do if your child has an accident at home, perhaps fell on their head or were choking on their food?

Learning about first aid and acting quickly and confidently in those vital first minutes could be the difference between your child’s life and death.
 

6 Tips on dealing with accidents at home

 

1. Choking

 
  • First encourage your child to cough. If this doesn't work, bend them forward and using the heel of your hand, give them up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades.
 
  • Check their mouth, and if the obstruction is still there, move on to abdominal thrusts.
 
  • Abdominal thrusts involve standing behind them, wrapping your arms around them and putting one fist between their navel and ribs. Grab the fist with your other hand and pull sharply in and up, up to five times.
 
  • If your child is still choking, repeat the process up to twice more, then call an ambulance. Continue until the ambulance arrives.
 
  • Even if the obstruction clears, seek medical advice if you've used abdominal thrusts.
 

2. Poisons

 
  • If your child is conscious and old enough to talk, ask them what they have swallowed (drugs, household poisons, chemicals etc), how much and when they swallowed the poison. Try to reassure them.
 
  • Call for an ambulance and give the emergency control centre as much information as possible about the poison.
 
  • Monitor and record your child's vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration rate) while waiting for help.
 
  • Keep samples of any vomited material but do not make your child sick. Give the samples and any other clues, such as pill bottles, to the ambulance crew.
 
  • If your child's lips have been burnt by corrosive substances, give them sips of cold milk or water while waiting for help to arrive.
 

3. Burns

 
  • If your child's burnt themselves, immediately cool the area under running water for at least 20 minutes to stop the burning process.
 
  • Remove any clothing from the area before it begins to swell.
 
  • Do not place anything on the burn except glad wrap or a plastic bag.
 
  • All burns in under 2 year olds need medical attention.
 
  • If the burn is larger than the palm of their hand it needs medical attention or if it's on their face, neck, hands or feet it will need medical attention. If the burn looks white or brown, this will need medical attention too.
 
  • If the burn is severe, call an ambulance while you're cooling the burn and treat your child for shock; raise their legs if possible, keep them warm, comfortable and reassured until help arrives.
 
  • In short, most burns need medical attention in young children.
  

4. Broken Bones

 
  • If you suspect your child has a broken bone, keep the injured area as still as possible. Support the area by placing blankets or clothing around it.
 
  • If your child's skin is broken, cover the injury with a clean, non-fluffy pad and gently bandage. You can take a child with a broken arm to hospital by car, but otherwise call for an ambulance.
 
  • While you're waiting, if you notice your child feeling worse or developing a fast pulse or clammy skin, you should lie them down and raise their legs. If their leg is injured, raise another limb instead.
 
  • Don't let your child eat or drink anything in case they need an anaesthetic when they arrive at hospital.
 

5. Cuts & Bleeding

 
  • Small cuts and grazes can look dramatic, but are easily treated. Clean the wound by rinsing it under running water or by using alcohol-free wipes. Pat the cut dry with a gauze swab and cover with sterile gauze.
 
  • If your child is still bleeding, raise the injured part above the level of their heart if possible. Clean the surrounding skin with soap and water, then pat dry. Apply a sterile dressing and seek medical help.
 
  • As the wound heals, watch out for signs of infection such as worsening pain, swelling, redness or pus.
 

6. Asthma Attack

 
  • If your child has an asthma attack, they'll be wheezing, finding it difficult to speak and may have grey or blue skin or lips. If they already have a reliever inhaler (usually blue) help them use it.
 
  • If this is their first attack, call an ambulance. It's really important that you keep calm and reassure them, staying with them to stop them panicking. Sit them upright and slightly forward, encouraging them to take slow breaths.
 
  • Call an ambulance if the inhaler has no effect, if they find it difficult to talk or if they become exhausted.
This article is not intended to mislead or replace expert medical advice.


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