Kids seem to suffer from a constant stream of minor injuries. Whether they bump heads or trip and fall on the pavement and scrape their palms, there seems to be a bump or a bruise of some sort at the end of each day.
If an injury is minor, the parents become the defacto nurses and doctors of the moment. Between goose eggs and bloody knees, moms are in need of a guidebook to reference. Consider this article your go-to guide to boo-boos (obviously, check with your doctor any time you are unsure).
You do want to have some background on treating small injuries. Doing the wrong thing can delay recovery or make things worse. Plus, all moms want to make their kids feel better when they get hurt.
Minor injuries do not need medical attention. Always see your pediatrician if you have any doubt.
Definitely call your child's doctor for serious injuries like:
- injury to the face, eye, or genital area
- excessive bleeding
- a head injury
- injuries with signs of infection like swelling or oozing
- anything lodged in your child's skin
- an animal bite
- injury from a metal object
- a fall down stairs
Small cuts happen often when kids are playing. They aren't serious, but they do need to be tended to. No matter how small, a cut is an open wound, making it vulnerable infection or scarring. Cuts are also just plain painful.
It is important to disinfect cuts. Always tend to a cut with clean hands. After you wash and dry your own hands, stop the bleeding if it has not stopped on its own. Apply pressure to the wound with a gauze or clean towel.
Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the area. Frequently, children fall in the dirt or on the pavement, so their cuts may have pieces of dirt or bark in them. Rinse out any debris you can. Use sterilized tweezers to reach any pieces you couldn't rinse out. Exercise caution, as it's easy to accidentally pull a piece of raw skin with the tweezers, causing your child more pain.
It is best if you can let the area air dry. If you cannot, pat it dry with a clean cloth. Avoid using tissue which will disintegrate and stick to the wound.
Spray or use a cotton ball to disinfect the cut with rubbing alcohol. Wait for it to evaporate and then apply an antibiotic ointment.
Use a band-aid over the cut until a scab begins to form. Make sure that the band-aid fits properly and that the sticky part doesn't touch any open skin. Once a scab forms, let the cut get some air. However, avoid sun exposure or use sunscreen to prevent scarring. Remind your child not to pick at scabs.
A bruise forms when a bump is hard enough to break blood vessels. That's what causes their dark purplish color. Injuries always cause a small amount of swelling due to increased white blood cell production at the site. Bruises usually swell, some more extensively than others.
Other than head injuries, unexplained bruises, or bruises that last too long, we can usually consider a bruise to be a minor injury. They do hurt, and treatment helps resolve them.
Broken blood vessels will heal in their own time, but we can treat the inflammation. Using ice on a bruise, or after any bump you suspect might bruise, is your best tool.
Wrap ice in a cloth or use an ice pack. Apply the ice as soon as possible, leaving it on for at least twenty minutes at a time. The more you ice, the better it is. Ice also helps with pain by numbing the area.
Elevating a bruised limb will help too. Prop up a foot or leg with pillows. Have your child rest and not use a part of the body that is bruised if possible.
Cuts and bruises are inevitable. Outside of basic safety precautions, we just need to accept that these minor injuries will happen. Trying to stop them would be futile, and our kids wouldn't get to play or learn from their mistakes. Knowing the basics will help you deal with them as they come. And don't forget to kiss those boo-boos!