“You are never over reacting when your child is hurt,” advises Dr. Bernard Heilicser a veteran ER doc. “
If your first thought is ‘I should call the paramedics,’ do it. Your gut feeling is almost always correct,” adds Heilicser who educated and directed paramedics in South Cook County, Illinois.
Here are tips from Dr. Heilicser that can keep your children and grandchildren healthy as they enroll in sports or are just out there in the world having fun.
- Always do ABC first—check airway to see if it is blocked; check for breathing and check for circulation.
- Scalp wounds bleed profusely, so don’t be alarmed. Be more concerned about a head or brain injury, especially in an infant.
- If your suspect a head, neck or back injury, don’t move the patient. Call the paramedics. “A head injury is always a broken neck until prove otherwise.” Do ABC. Move the environment not the patient—furniture, bike, etc. Cover the patient with a blanket, and allow no water or food.
- Try to stay calm, hold your child and assure her first. However, if blood is gushing out, then you have no choice but to act. Stitches will be needed, if you see bone, tendon, or what globules inside the wound. Bright red blood pumping out is arterial bleeding. Try to put pressure on the bleeding and keep the patient still.
- If a finger or toe has been cut off, apply pressure to the wound, place the body part in a cloth, and ice it. Most often it can be reapplied. Time is essential. You have about six hours.
- If a permanent tooth is knocked out, don’t clean the tooth or rub it. Have your child hold it in the corner of his mouth and get to a dentist within thirty minutes. It can be saved.
- If your child gets a chemical or harmful fluid in her eye, irrigate the eye for about ten minutes. If necessary just jump right into the shower with your child, clothes and all. Then consult with your doctor.
A few things to do ahead of time to prevent and deal with traumas:
- Know whether your doctor is equipped to deal with emergencies. Can you call her at 3:00 in the morning? Would she have the equipment to do an x-ray or would she just tell you to go to the closest hospital?
- Is there a trauma center near you, a hospital that always has a surgeon ‘in house’ to deal with emergencies?
- When was your grandchild’s last tetanus shot? A tetanus immunization is supposed to last ten years, but if your child has a “dirty” wound it is really good for only five. If the cut is deep, jagged, dirty or a cut from glass in a lake—get a tetanus.
- Learn CPR. Doing something is better than doing nothing. It stops you from feeling totally helpless.
- Don’t allow children or grandchildren to eat or chew gum on the playing field. During an injury the airway can easily become blocked creating a critical situation.
- See if your Athletic Association has a rule forbidding a coach to move a child from the field. The game can wait. Your child’s injury comes first!
Remember this advice from an ER doc and keep your child healthy and happy.
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