I’m going to start off by saying that I am not a doctor, and none of my tips and pointers should be construed as medical advice. However, I am a mom and like to think possess at least some common knowledge, and that’s what I’m going to dole out today. One of the things I was most scared of when becoming a parent was not being able to help my child in the event of an emergency. And while my ultimate confidence will always reside with a medical professional, there are some basic things every parent should know when handling a medical crisis. These are skills that will give you confidence in a scary situation until you can get to a doctor or hospital. I’m not going to teach you how to implement these skills, but I hope to give you some great resources where you can learn from the best.
I can think of fewer things more terrifying than my child not breathing. Whether it’s because of an illness, physical trauma, choking or drowning, knowing basic CPR can mean the difference between life and death. Most often, CPR will bridge the gap between not breathing and getting in to the hands of a Paramedic. It’s wise to get CPR certified even while you’re pregnant, and to stay up to date on the changing methods, especially when it comes to using it on different ages. The Red Cross has tons of great trainings, perfect for work or personal settings.
2. Abdominal Thrusts (formerly know as the Heimlich Maneuver)
Choking is scary both for the person choking and anyone who is watching in terror at their loved one not being able to breath. It could be from swallowing a piece of food that’s too large or even a toy, but whatever the cause, choking is very serious. When your child cannot cry or get words out, is turning blue or is grasping at their throat, you need to act quickly because they are not able to breathe and thus cannot get oxygen to their brain. The American Heart Association and Red Cross both suggest techniques that will help dislodge the object, either by back blows or abdominal thrusts. You can read about these methods over at the Mayo Clinic.
Serious burns (aka 3rd degree) always require a medical professional, but it’s important to treat them carefully right away to avoid infection. Minor burns should also be treated with care, even if they are not serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. For 1st and 2nd degree, soak in cold water to relieve swelling and then apply an antibiotic cream. You should change the dressing regularly and watch for infection and healing. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate in calling your doctor for advice!
If you’ve ever witnesses someone having a seizure, you know how terrifying they can be. In children, febrile seizures are the most common. They are brought on by high fevers and are common in babies 12-18 months old. They usually not serious, but any parent will be frightened if they see their child seize. The most important thing to do is make sure the person has room to move without hitting furniture. Never try and hold a seizing person down, and be sure to turn them on their side when the seizure is over. Personally, I would alway call my doctor, and you may want to too! WebMD has more great info on seizures.
5. Bandaging Wounds
If you have kids, fixing ouchies and boo boo’s can be a daily occurrence, and there actually is a method to doing it correctly. Always be sure to wash your hands, and rinse wounds with cold water. Don’t use soap directly on the wound but only on the surrounding tissue. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover anything worse than a scratch. Always watch for infection since kids usually don’t let something as silly as a bandage get in their way of playing in the dirt!
There are wounds that bleed and then there are wounds that BLEED. You know what I’m talking about. The latter usually require medical care and probably stitches, but you can help stop the flow of blood by applying pressure to the wound. In very serious cases, you may need to fashion a tourniquet which you will know by the flow of blood not stopping from the application of pressure. Do your best to elevate the area of the wound, such as having the person sit upright if they have a head wound, etc. Visit WebMD for more tips on staunching a wound.
You may find your child in a state of unconsciousness and it is terrifying. When that happens, call 911 and then check their airways, breathing and circulation (ABC’s). Circulation means any sign of movement, such as groaning, breathing and moving their limbs. If none of these are present, start CPR. Keep the person warm, and only move them if you are sure there is no potential spinal injury. If they rouse before medical help arrives, do not give any food or drink, unless the unconsciousness could have been due to low blood sugar. Find even more info over at the National Library Of Medicine.