“The home is the No. 1 place kids get hurt,” said Jeanne Marsala, RN, Safe Kids director at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.
Being ready and prepared for injuries, both minor and serious, is key to keeping children safe. Maintaining a first-aid kit with all the necessary supplies gathered in one place can enable parents to act quickly if an incident occurs.
Know when and how to treat injuries
When to treat children at home
The majority of injuries you’ll treat at home will be minor cuts and scrapes. If the cut or scrape is bleeding, apply pressure. If the bleeding does not stop in two to three minutes, call your pediatrician. Once the bleeding stops, clean the wound using antiseptic or anti-bacterial soap and water. Once the area is dry, bandage it. Reapply the bandage daily until the wound is healed.
When to call poison control
Call poison control if the child has ingested anything potentially poisonous. Keep in mind that children sometimes can get into unexpected products, such as makeup, house plants and cleaning supplies. “They just put out a new warning for laundry-detergent packages, which have caused a wave of mild poisonings in children recently,” Marsala said.
When to call the doctor
Call your pediatrician unless the child is suffering a medical emergency.
Tooth preservation kit
If a child falls and knocks out an adult tooth (baby teeth will not be reimplanted), it has the best chance of survival if it is replaced within 15 minutes. The first thing parents should do is try to place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root and have the child bite down on gauze to hold it in place until you can get to the dentist or emergency room. If the tooth cannot be placed back in the socket, a tooth preservation kit is the next line of action. These kits contain a sterile balanced salt solution that is ideal to preserve teeth during transportation. If a tooth preservation kit isn’t available, do not put the tooth in tap water. Teeth can be stored in a container of milk, your child’s saliva, or can be placed between your lower lip and gum.
When to take your child to the hospital
If the child has a gaping wound or any wound that looks deep enough that it might need stitches, he or she needs to go to the hospital immediately. Most wounds should be stitched within four to six hours of the injury. After 24 hours, they cannot be stitched at all.
When to call 911
Call 911 for the following reasons: The child cannot breathe or is turning blue; he or she has been unconscious for any reason; the child is unresponsive; the child has a seizure that lasts three to five minutes; he or she has uncontrolled bleeding or a gaping wound; the child suffered a burn on his or her hands, feet or face; or if the child has a head, neck or spine injury.
Often overlooked hazards
Drownings don’t just occur in bathtubs or pools. They can happen in as little as 1 inch of water. Toddlers are especially prone to drowning. “Toddlers are naturally attracted to water and are very top heavy,” nurse Jeanne Marsala said. “They can easily topple into shallow pools, like toilets or dog bowls, when attempting to play. Children need to be supervised around water at all times.”
Falling TVs are another common hazard for toddlers and young children. “What we see happen a lot is when a toddler climbs up on a cabinet or dresser and the TV falls on top of them,” Marsala said. To prevent that from happening, televisions should be mounted to the wall and out of a child’s reach, or placed on secure surfaces that a toddler cannot climb on or move.
Infants should have their own bed with a firm mattress and no soft bedding, including comforters and bumper pads. Co-sleeping with parents or soft bedding in a crib can smother infants while they sleep. “Every month in Clark County, we see one to two infant deaths due to co-sleeping,” Marsala said.
Back-over deaths commonly occur when a parent leaves, his or her toddler or child runs after to say a second goodbye, and the parent backs over the child without realizing he or she is behind the car.
To prevent this from happening, be sure someone is looking after your children every time you leave the house alone.