Handle Children Emergencies at Home

May 26, 2020



Childhood illness and injuries are commonplace. By some estimates, they make up to 30-40% of doctor’s visits.



It is important for parents to know some basic first aid for initial management before bringing their child to see a doctor.


Here are some common illness symptoms and injuries that a parent may encounter, and tips on how to deal with them effectively.



1) Fever


Showering and sponging are very effective methods of bringing down a fever. Evaporation of water from your child’s skin brings away excess body heat. Paracetamol at 10-15mg/kg can also be given to bring down a fever.  If fever persists despite the above measures or if you feel something is not right, please bring your child to the doctor. Although most causes of fever are benign, there are serious conditions that needs management by a doctor.



2) Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea


Most cases of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are self-limiting and only need symptomatic treatment. Frequent small feeds with oral rehydration solution or half strength apple juice is usually sufficient to prevent further vomiting and maintain hydration of your child. As your child improves, he or she can slowly progress back to his/her usual diet. If vomiting is persistent or your child is lethargic, please consult a doctor.



3) Bleeding from abrasions, cuts, and lacerations


Wash the wound with clean water and apply a clean cloth to the wound. Apply steady pressure on the cloth and wound with your palm for 5 minutes.  Raise bleeding part above level of your child’s heart if possible.  Seek medical attention if the cut is large , deep or if bleeding cannot be stopped.



4) Burns and scalds


Place the affected area under a running tap for at least 20 minutes. For small, superficial burns, clean it with antiseptic solution and cover it with a loose dry dressing for next few days. Do not apply butter, grease or other home remedies to the burn. If surface area of the burn is large, appears deep or on face, hands, joints or genitals, cover with a clean towel and bring your child to a doctor.



5) Choking


A choking child may appear panicky, blue , is unable to cry or talk, grabs at his/her throat or waves arms, or is gasping or wheezing. Quickly call 995 and perform the Heimlich maneuver if you have been trained in it. If your child becomes unconscious, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.



6) Seizures

Lay your child on a flat surface e.g. bed or the floor. Remove any dangerous objects around and loosen tight clothing around the head and neck. Turn him/her to one side to prevent choking. Do not place objects in your child’s mouth or try to force it open.  If the seizure last for >= 5 minutes, call for an ambulance and administer rectal diazepam if you have it.



7) Accidental poisoning


Bring your child to a doctor ASAP. If your child becomes unconscious, call an ambulance and turn him/her to one side so that when they vomit, they do not inhale the vomitus. Do not try to induce vomiting or give any home remedy or antidote. Bring the poison in its container for easy identification.



8) Nose bleed


Tilt your child’s head forward and pinch the soft part of the nose.  Gently inform them to breathe through their mouth while you are pinching their nose.  Release the pinch after about 10 minutes. Repeat if bleeding persists. Seek medical attention if bleeding does not stop in 30 minutes.



Prevention is always better than cure.

Preventive measures such as gates for kitchen entrance, window grills, corner guards, door slam protectors and close supervision of your young ones minimizes risk of injury. However, accidents happen and by having knowledge of basic first aid, many injuries can be stabilized before bringing your child to the doctor.



Read related topics:

Am I Protected From Covid-19 if I’m Still Young?

Skin Problems in Kids and Babies



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