First Aid Tips for Parents of Small Children

As soon as your child is mobile, they’re bound to get into trouble. 

Board-certified pediatrician Umesh Kodu, MD, of Penguin Pediatrics is available to help when your child has an injury that’s urgent, but not life-threatening. You don’t always need to seek medical help for every bump, scrape, or bruise. Know how to handle the minor injuries your child will inevitably experience as they learn to walk, ride a bike, and navigate the outdoors.

Here’s how to apply first aid to your little one at home, and how to know when you should come see us for extra assistance.

Cuts and scrapes

If your child scrapes their knee or suffers a cut, apply standard first aid. Before attending to your child, wash your hands. 

To stop any bleeding, put pressure on the cut or scrape using gauze or a clean cloth. It might take a few minutes for the bleeding to slow down.

Next, clean the wound. Rinse a cut under cool running water or pat a scrape with a damp cloth or piece of gauze. Water should do, but you can opt to use a saline wound cleaner. Never use soap, as it irritates the cut. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or iodine either, as these aren’t superior cut healers, but actual irritants that may make your child even more uncomfortable.

If there’s dirt or debris entangled in the wound or cut, use a pair of clean tweezers to pull it out. Bandage the cut if it’s in a place that’s easily irritated or reopened, but often cuts and scrapes heal better when uncovered.

If the cut is exceptionally deep or ragged, your child will likely need care from Dr. Kodu. Call ahead to alert us that you’re coming.

Bump on the head

If your child fell and bonked their head, you have every right to worry. Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a thin towel, to the point of injury. If your child seems to be OK and behaving normally, just monitor them for any changes or unusual symptoms.

Your child may need some extra rest following a head injury. Pain may be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Never give ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) for a head injury as it can aggravate any internal bleeding.

If you’re concerned about how your child is acting following a blow to the head, call our office right away so we can help you determine if you should come in or go to the ER.

Minor burns

If your child touches a hot stove or gets too close to a lit candle, don’t panic. Hold the injury under cool tap water for 10-15 minutes to ease pain and inflammation. It’s also a good idea to apply an antibiotic ointment to the burn to start the process of cell regeneration.

Even if the burn blisters, stay calm. The bubble is actually a preventive barrier that guards against infection. The blister should pop on its own after a few days and may be bandaged at that point.

If the burn area is larger than the size of your child’s palm, is on a delicate area like the face or genitals, looks angry, or is wet and waxy, call our office right away.

At Penguin Pediatrics, we’re always available to help if at-home first aid isn’t sufficient when it comes to your child’s injuries. Call our nearest office — in Stone Ridge or Ashburn, Virginia — if you need help. If you have a medical issue that can wait, use the online tool to schedule.

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