Any deep wound can be complicated by bleeding and the possibility of damage to nerves and tendons.
Look for: What caused the wound? “If it’s the result of a fall, it may not be merely the scrape it seems to be,” Larmon says. “If your child fell down the stairs but all you see is a scrape or bruise, call 911 or her physician anyway, since she could suffer internal bleeding or a head injury.”
What to do:
1) If you think your child suffered a serious fall, check her pulse. If it feels faster than 160–180, lay her down, call 911, and elevate her legs while you wait for help.
2) For a minor cut, elevate the wounded area if possible and apply direct pressure to it for five minutes with an ice bag wrapped in a towel. “This will stop 95 percent of all bleeding,” Larmon says.
3) If there is dirt or debris in the wound, numb it with ice and then scrub very gently with a new soft-bristled toothbrush under cool running water.
4) Once the bleeding stops — and if the cut doesn’t need stitches — clean the wound with a soap such as pHisoderm and rinse it with cool water. Don’t use antiseptic or antibacterial soaps, since they only increase the child’s discomfort.
5) Loosely cover the wound with a Band-Aid or a bandage made of sterile 4-by-4-inch gauze and tape.
6) Keep the wound dry until it forms a scab, changing the bandage every 24 hours. Once a scab has formed, dab petroleum jelly on it to keep it moist and prevent it from snagging on clothing and bedding.
7) If you notice redness, swelling, pus or heat developing around the wound, call a pediatrician immediately.
8) Call your pediatrician if a wound keeps bleeding after 5–10 minutes of direct pressure or has edges that gape open. It may need stitches.
Prevention: Keep corners of furniture and fireplaces cushioned and glass out of reach.
Treatment will depend on the cause and severity, but there are steps you can follow for minor burns.
Look for: Red, white, dry or blotchy skin; blisters; browned or blackened skin.
What to do:
1) Extinguish flames or remove child from the source of the heat.
2) Rinse the burned area with cool water. If the burn is on a part of the body that can’t be immersed, soak towels or sheets in cool water and gently place on the burned area.
3) Cover the burned area with a dry, sterile bandage or clean cloth. If the burn covers a large part of the body, wrap it in a clean, dry sheet and get immediate medical care.
4) Get immediate care for any burn that causes blisters or the skin to appear mottled; affects more than one body part; or is on the head, neck, hands, feet or genitals.
- Lock matches in a cabinet out of children’s reach.
- Place space heaters and radiators at least 3 feet away from cribs, curtains, bedding and other flammable materials. Never use them to dry clothing, and always turn them off when you leave the room and before you go to sleep.
- Keep flammable items, such as dish towels and wooden spoons, at least 3 feet away from a hot stove.
- Don’t smoke in bed. Always extinguish matches, cigarettes, cigars and pipes under running water.
- Install at least one smoke detector on each level of your home (preferably one in each room). Test batteries monthly and replace with new ones yearly.
- Never leave a child alone in the bathtub.
- Set your water heater at 120 F or less.
- When cooking, always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, away from a child’s reach.