Children are full of energy and constantly on the lookout for fun and adventure. These are beautiful qualities and true hallmarks of childhood. Unfortunately, though, these predilections also lead to injuries.
There are numerous ways children get hurt: from falls to sunburns to bites and stings. As a parent, it’s hard not to worry. But kids are curious, and it’s impossible to predict and prevent every possible scenario. Instead, you can arm yourself with knowledge that will help avoid some injuries, and know what to do when injuries do happen.
Here are five common injures children suffer.
1. Insect bites
There are various types of insects that can bite (e.g. fleas, mosquitos and spiders).
For flea bites, clean the area with soap and water. If necessary, use an antihistamine for itching and acetaminophen for pain. For mosquito bites, apply ice to prevent itching and swelling. Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for itching, and discourage scratching. If you suspect your child was bitten by a spider, wash the bite with soap and water several times a day, apply an antibiotic treatment, and give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen if necessary. Call your doctor or visit an urgent care facility if you notice signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pus, or if the bite feels warm to the touch.
If your infant or young child falls, go against your instincts to run over and scoop them up. Infants often take cues from their parents on how to react to a situation. Many parents find that the best method is to walk over calmly and quietly and check them for injuries and help them up, if necessary.
If your child has minor scrapes, apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for a few minutes to stop the bleeding. Then, wash your hands and wash the area well with soap and water, carefully removing any dirt or particles. Apply an antiseptic cream or lotion and cover the area with a bandage or gauze pad.
Symptoms of sunburn vary, but can include: Redness, swelling, pain, blisters, fever, chills, weakness and confusion. Have your child take a cool bath or apply a cool compress to ease discomfort and redness. Apply a topical moisturizer such as natural aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or a topical pain reliever if recommended by your doctor. If there are blisters, don’t break them. Your child should stay out of the sun and get plenty of hydration while the sunburn is healing.
4. Head injury
Statistically speaking, the chances of sustaining a head injury are twice as high for boys than girls. Many of these accidents happen in the late afternoon or early evening.
If your child is riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard, make sure he or she is wearing a helmet and wearing it properly. Take your child to urgent care immediately if he or she exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness, even briefly
- Trouble with balance
- Can’t make eye contact or answer questions
- Blurry vision
Small, artificial splinters can usually be removed at home. Wash your hands and clean the splinter area with soap and water. Use a sterilized needle or tweezers and try to gently pry it out. If the splinter is under the skin, prick the skin over the splinter and try to pull it out. If you can’t remove it or it’s too deep in the skin, you can take your child to urgent care or call their doctor. Watch the area closely for infection as it heals.
Remember, you’ll both be okay!
Injuries are a part of life for children, but that doesn’t make such episodes less traumatic for kids and the parents who love them. Most importantly, stay calm for your child and yourself. If your child experiences any of the injuries described above, you’ll have a better idea of what to do and where to go. Remember—when in doubt, a visit to the urgent care center can bring you both peace of mind.