Five of the most common emergency situations involving children and how to respond
- Falls are one the most common emergency situations paramedics see involving children. The effects of falls can range from bleeding and abrasions (which are usually easily managed by a parent with a first aid kit) to sprains/fractures and head injuries. Head injuries from a fall are most likely to be minor but it is crucial that parents learn to recognise when the injury is serious as a serious head injury may require emergency care.
- Choking is often described as one of most scary things a parent may encounter! Being aware of the different types of choking and knowing how to respond can really be a matter of life and death. A choking event may be a complete obstruction where the child is silent as the airway is completely obstructed, or a partial obstruction with the child having difficulty breathing and hearing a wheeze. Appropriate treatment will depend on which type of choking but may include back blows and administering CPR.
- One of the most common ambulance jobs our paramedics attend is for febrile convulsionsalthough many parents don’t know what they are or how to respond and often cannot stay calm to help the situation. It is important to call 000. Lay your child on the floor and loosen any tight clothing, roll the child onto their left side only once jerking has stopped or if they vomit. Never try to restrain a fitting child.
- Children are naturally curious. They learn by putting things into their mouths and touching things they shouldn’t. Among the most common injuries suffered by children are burns (caused by dry heat) and scalds (caused by hot liquids). Of course, prevention is better than cure. So keep children away from the kitchen, away from hot water taps, and away from anywhere where hot surfaces or liquids may be within touching distance. In the event your child is burned, you must act quickly. Call 000, remove clothing, nappy or jewellery (Unless it is stuck to the skin) cool the skin under cold running water.
- Recognising respiratory distress early can have a huge impact on the final outcome, so knowing the signs is vital. Some signs and symptoms of breathing difficulties may include, wheezing sounds, pale/cool sweaty skin, hoarse barking cough, shortness of breath or sucking in of chest muscles, blueish colour around the mouth and the child may even have a fever. If your child is in respiratory distress you must call 000, keep upright and forward, provide reliever medication if available and if not breathing commence CPR.
The most important thing for parents and carers to do is to equip themselves with the correct skills to use in an emergency situation involving their child. It is essential that parents try to remain calm and collected during the event and have the knowledge and skills to render the appropriate treatment.
What happens immediately after an emergency can make all the difference!
Learn all of this and much, much more, including how to administer CPR from a qualified paramedic in a three hour kids first aid course, available across Australia.
Visit www.kidsfirstaid.com.au or call 1300 138 133 for more information.