Maybe there is something in the air, a general giddiness that suddenly makes children do very silly things (usually resulting in some sort of injury), but this past week, I—and several of my friends—had our first-aid skills put to the test.

Whenever there is a gathering of children, you can guarantee it won’t take long before one of them is screaming for their mom with tears running down their face, proffering an injured limb. This week was no exception: a dear friend’s son’s eighth birthday party and an unfortunate incident involving a future skateboarding wiz and a stationary object—also known as a brick wall.

Thankfully, the boy in question was wearing a crash helmet so concussion was not an issue, however, he had forgotten to wear his protective pads and sustained a heavy graze on his left elbow. Luckily, the graze was superficial and the bleeding minimal so after cleaning the wound, he was quickly back to emulating his heroes on a makeshift ramp made of an old toddler slide (with his fretting mother hovering in the background, fingers poised ready to call 911).

dressing a child's woundThe next day I received a phone call from my sister. My young niece had just began to pull herself up using the furniture (a great milestone for all infants), but unfortunately she managed to knock a cup of coffee on herself in the process. Panicking, my sister was unsure how to treat a minor burn. Turns out, she did exactly as she should have by running her daughter’s arms under a cool tap for 10 minutes and then applying a topical cream to the skin. My niece, ever the adventurer, had forgotten the incident five minutes later and was trying to scale the bewildered family labrador.

Next, it was our turn. In a bid to teach my 10-year-old some life skills, he was left alone in the kitchen to make a sandwich, but instead of cutting his sandwich with the usual blunt bread knife, he had taken a sharp chopping knife out of the knife block and had attempted to remove the tip of his finger along with the couldn’t-possibly-eat crust. After ascertaining that the cut wasn’t too deep and stemming the bleeding, we managed to patch up the commis chef and salvage his lunch, although he was less than impressed with having to sport a Frozen bandage for the next couple of days.

Preventing Wound Infections

I sometimes think I must have given birth to the world’s clumsiest children. Both the five-year-old and the 10-year-old are constantly covered in cuts and bruises and sporting scabby knees. Playing soccer, skateboarding, riding their bikes…they all seem to bring endless shrieks of “Mom, Mom!” with me rushing to the bathroom cabinet and the first aid kit.

Mostly (thank goodness!), the cuts and scrapes are superficial and a quick clean up and a slick of first aid ointment is all that’s needed to send them on their way—until their next mishap.

However, there’s always that worry in the back of my mind that deeper cuts and scrapes may turn nasty if I haven’t dealt with them properly. Infected wounds take much longer to heal, which can cause a lot of prolonged and unnecessary pain and may even lead to serious complications requiring hospital treatment.

Our doctor told me (after a visit with my youngest following a bouncing-off-a-trampoline incident) that a wound becomes infected when bacteria multiply too fast for the body’s immune system to deal with, and the main reason for infection is poor dressing or insufficient cleaning of the wound.

Cleanliness is essential, so it’s super important that you wash your hands thoroughly before attending to your own or anyone else’s wounds. The wound area needs to be cleaned with a product strong enough to kill the bacteria and then dressed with either a band aid or bandage depending on the type of wound and how deep it is, which will need to be changed daily until the wound has healed.

Thankfully, this common sense approach has kept my children out of the ER and had them bouncing back (or up and down) in no time, just waiting for a fresh bruise or cut…

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