Make Sure Your Child Gets the Correct Dose

Ill girl with tabletThe old wives’ tale that ‘if it doesn’t taste bad it won’t work’ may still hold as true today as it did in years gone by, but it doesn’t really help when medicating your child. However a medicine tastes, a child will try to avoid taking it. That doesn’t help your child’s health or your peace of mind. You’re old enough and wise enough to understand that the correct dose is vital to a medicine working, and this is vital to getting your child’s life, and yours, back on track.

Here are four ways to overcome your child’s natural reluctance to take their medicine.

1. Sweeten the pill with bribery

Older children react especially well to a little bribery: ‘Take this medicine and you can watch your favourite film’. However, bribery methods become more expensive as children get older and realise the value of things. Younger children can often be tempted to take medicine by pretending to give it to a favourite doll or teddy bear.

2.Disguise the medicine and fool your child

It may be possible to hide thei r medicine in an item of food or drink. Don’t forget, though, that your child will need to eat or drink the whole portion to get the full dose of concealed medicine. The trick here is to hide the medicine in a small treat if possible. One word of warning: some medicines shouldn’t be mixed with food or liquid so always check before using this method.

3. Syringe the cough syrup

Young babies seem to know immediately that there is a spoonful of medicine on its way. They squirm and shuffle, and spit it out as soon as it’s in. If this describes your baby, then try using a syringe. Put the dose in a syringe and squirt it into your baby’s mouth: their reflex will be to swallow.

4. Give something to take away the taste

Most often it’s the taste that makes a child not want to take their medicine. Explain that without the medicine they won’t get well enough to go out and play with their friends. Give them the option of a drink to take straight after swallowing the medicine, to take the taste away.

Be firm and stand your ground

For your child’s health and your sanity, it’s important that your child takes the right medicine in the correct dosage. Make sure you read the instructions and measure accurately. It may be that you need to be as stubborn in administering medicine as your child is in refusing it.

Finally, the best method of measuring dosage is to use a syringe (even if the medicine is to be spoon fed). A study by the National Institute of Health in the United States has found that almost half of parents measured dosages incorrectly when using spoons, with more than 10,000 calls to poison control centres received each year because of incorrect liquid medicine dosages.

Should I Take My Toddler To Hospital After A Bang On The Head?

For a parent, one of the most worrying things to see on a young child is a rapid swelling of the head after a fall or bang. There may be no need for concern as the skull is thick to protect the brain from injury–and more than a few of us really were dropped on our heads as children! However, it is important to know the difference between a minor bump and something more serious.

 

The difference between minor and serious head injuries

A head injury might be accompanied by any one of a number of symptoms. There may be bleeding, swelling, and discolouration. Typical is the ‘egg’ swelling on the forehead. None of these symptoms should be an immediate cause for concern. However, if your child lost consciousness when injured, then it’s important that you seek immediate medical help.

 

Treating minor head injuries

Minor head injuries are often accompanied by screaming and crying. That’s perfectly normal. If the head injury happens just before bed and there’s no swelling or bleeding, then it’s fine to let them sleep. Check on your child ten or fifteen minutes after they’ve fallen asleep, and if you are still concerned, wake them up to see that they’re alright. If you are having difficulty waking them and you’re concerned, phone for medical help.

 

Treating more serious head injuries

Very occasionally the swelling caused by a head injury will be soft and spongy. If this is the case, there may be some significant internal bleeding and you should get medical help immediately. The same applies if there are any symptoms of vision difficulties. Other symptoms which may be concerning and require immediate medical attention include: continued drowsiness, dizziness, seizures, headache, confusion, vomiting.

 

Trust your instinct

No one knows your child better than you. If they suffer a head injury, always trust your instinct. It is better to be safe than sorry, and if your child is acting stranger than usual after a head injury then seeking medical advice is always the right thing to do.

What To Do If You Think Your Child Has Fractured A Bone

boy with a broken arm

With kids, it’s often hard to tell the serious accidents from the not-so-serious accidents. Unfortunately, one of the more common serious injuries that kids suffer is a broken bone, with the most common being an arm or wrist, as  the natural instinct when falling is to extend an arm to break the fall. When a child does fracture a bone, there is likely to be a lot of pain, probably tears and shock.

With any fracture, you will need to take a trip to the doctor, and depending on the how serious you think the injury, you may need to go to the emergency room. There are several steps you can take, however, to help your child.

Immobilise the limb

Make your child comfortable and take measures to immobilise the limb. This might be by applying a splint or sling.  If you don’t have a sling, you can use your child’s shirt to support the arm and keep it out of the way. Fold the bottom of the t-shirt up and over the arm at the elbow, and knot it at the back to hold the arm tightly in place. To create a splint, wrap a newspaper around the leg and and secure with a scarf or other piece of clothing.

Ice and elevate

To ease the swelling apply ice, then elevate to help with pain relief. When applying ice, always wrap it in a cloth and don’t place it directly against the skin. Leave it on for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.

Help with the pain

Depending on your child’s medical history, ibuprofen or paracetamol are recommended for relieving pain as well as swelling.

More serious fractures e.g. compound fractures

If the bone has broken through the skin or the fracture is more complicated, higher level surgery may be required. This will be assessed at hospital, and if surgery is required it will most likely involve an anaesthetic. Because of this possibility, it is important not to give the child anything to eat or drink until after medical attention has been received.

And finally…

Most broken bones can be easily reset. After a few weeks, the cast will be removed and your child will soon forget about the pain and inconvenience–they’ll just have another battle scar and story to tell friends!

 

How to Treat Foreign Bodies In A Child’s Eye

Eye injuries among children are common, and the causes are wide ranging as they seem to find ever-more-creative ways to hurt themselves.  It is often difficult to know exactly when to seek medical help but in cases where there is a relatively harmless foreign body present in the eye (like dust, hair, grit, etc.), you can administer help yourself. First, having something lodged in the eye is an unsettling feeling, so calming your child may be the first thing to do. Securing their head and looking closely at the problem will make them feel more comfortable. It will also prevent them from rubbing their eye or trying to remove the object themselves, which could make the problem worse. Suggest that they focus on something in the distance and stay still. If it is something small that is causing your child discomfort, such as dust or hair, you can try flushing the eye yourself: Hold your child’s eye under gently running water for several minutes and then check. The foreign object should have gone.

Having difficulty? Get help

If the eye has been cut or penetrated, or if you are having difficulty flushing it out, you should take your child to the GP or nearest Emergency Department. Foreign objects can cause infection, scarring, or–worst case–long-term vision impairments. This includes burn injuries from a chemical, household cleaner, or perfume (classic signs are redness, pain, swelling, and stinging). Make sure your child doesn’t rub their eye in the meantime. Ideally, place a paper cup or similarly loose, protective cover over the affected eye until it can be treated. Note: In instances such as these it helps to be prepared with a first aid kit, stored in a cool, dry place and out of the reach of children.

Your Most Important Home Possession – The First Aid Kit

First aid boxDealing with scratches, grazes, bites and bruises can keep parents with young children busy, that’s for sure.

But knowing what to do when your child has a fall, or is burned, or suffers a seizure is only part of the puzzle when it comes to dealing with medical emergencies. While it’s possible to improvise, it’s best to have the right emergency items available where most accidents happen: in the home.

What to have in a first aid kit

Your first aid kit should be designed to deal with all the minor emergencies and injuries that may occur in your home. Cuts and grazes are the most common, so plasters and antiseptic creams are an obvious choice. Bandages, gauze, and cold packs will help with bruised limbs and possibly-broken bones. A good thermometer is needed to help monitor before, during, and after treatment. Other items that may not spring to mind straight away include:

  • Scissors
  • Latex gloves
  • Adhesive tape
  • Non-sticking dressings

It’s also a good idea to have a first aid guide in the first aid kit, as well as a CPR guide – though hopefully you’ll never need to use it.

Maintaining your first aid kit

There are a couple of things you should do to maintain your first aid kit to ensure it is always ready for use.

The first of these is to periodically check through it to make sure everything is there that should be. It’s amazing how small items go missing, and when the family knows where there is a readily available pair of scissors… well, need we say more? Keep a list of all first aid items in with your first aid kit, and check them off on a monthly basis.

Every time you use something, replace it! And check for expiry dates, too.

Finally, make time to review your first aid book. It’s surprising how quickly we forget what we thought we knew. Reminding yourself of the basics will help first aid come naturally when it’s most needed.

Creating and storing your first aid kit

Once you’ve decided exactly what you need in your first aid kit, you can create your own by buying all the items and storage box separately. We also supply a ready stocked paramedic endorsed home first aid kit, developed with the help of paramedics and designed to contain everything you’ll need to treat common injuries around the home.

Finally, always be prepared with first aid training and a fit-for-purpose first aid kit, stored in a cool, dry place and out of the reach of children.

Free DRSABC First Aid Poster

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Here’s another potentially lifesaving resource for you and your family – put together by our team of trained paramedics.

It’s a first aid poster focused on the simple process for handling any emergency situation confidently and calmly.

The six step process is called D.R.S.A.B.C. or Dr’s ABC – a short but powerful acronym designed to help you:

  • Identify immediate risks to you and the patient (D is for Danger)
  • Quickly assess the extent of their injuries (R is for Response)
  • Call for expert medical support (S is for Send for Help)
  • Ensure the patient’s airway is not blocked (A is for Airway)
  • Check the patient is breathing (B is for Breathing)
  • Administer CPR if necessary (C is for CPR)

The poster is yours free for you to print out and display in your home and office.

Click HERE to get your copy of the Dr’s ABC poster for FREE

So go ahead, download the poster and share it with your friends using the buttons below – I’m sure they’ll thank you for it!

What to do when a Child Puts Something up Their Nose

Child picking nose

Part of growing up is playful experimentation. Much to a parent’s annoyance, this includes putting things where they don’t belong. Toys down the toilet, sweets in the CD player, and all manner of weird stuff in the washing machine. These little experiments are annoying, sometimes costly, but not dangerous. Then comes the time when a child shoves something up their nose. Why they do this remains one of the unanswered mysteries of life.

Of course, a nostril is not the only bodily orifice into which stray foreign objects disappear. Ears are another favourite target, and the general advice is to take your child to receive medical attention and have the foreign object removed. But for something stuck up the nose, there is a little first aid trick you can put into practice.

Block, Blow, Breathe easy!

With any luck, the discomfort caused by getting something stuck in one nostril will stop your child from blocking the other. All the breathing tubes and entry and exit points are connected, and the ‘block, blow, breathe easy’ method, while seeming a little unorthodox, usually works a treat. Here’s how it works:

  • Block the clear nostril with you finger
  • Place your mouth over your child’s mouth
  • Blow

Your child’s eyes will probably bulge with surprise, but nine times out of ten the foreign body will fly out of its hiding place.

The last thing to do with this method is to sit your child down and impress upon them how dangerous it is to put anything near noses, ears, eyes and backsides.

While the above method is tried and tested, if you’re anxious about using it or the object is buried deep in the nose or an ear (or elsewhere) then a visit to an emergency department will be needed. Trying to remove a misplaced foreign object could push it further in, causing more damage. Leaving it there will lead to infection. The final word is, of course, remove the foreign body or have it removed.

Dealing with Seizures

Crying disabled toddler boyOne of the most terrifying things to watch, especially as a parent, is a child having a fit or convulsion. These seizures can happen for a variety of reasons, adding to the anxiety and fear factor when they do. It could be that a head injury is the cause, or meningitis, or epilepsy. And they can happen in a variety of ways, too: shaking of the whole body, or complete stiffness, and anything in between. Whatever the reason and type of seizure, knowing how to deal with it will help a parent to remain focused and effective in ensuring the health of their child.

Body heat and seizures

A common cause of seizures is a rapid rise in body heat, as seen when a child is ill and suffering with a fever. This is called a febrile convulsion, and will often last for less than five minutes and come to an end without outside help. It’s very scary to watch – especially the first time – but doesn’t result in increased chances of developing epilepsy.

Seizures sap a lot of energy, and so it’s very common for the child to want to sleep afterwards. That’s normal, though if your child is prone to seizures and is taking an excessive time to wake up you should get medical help.

Don’t get your finger bitten off

A common misconception is that a child having a seizure will swallow their tongue and stop breathing. This simply doesn’t happen. Never put anything into the mouth of a child experiencing a seizure.

First aid for seizures

There is a simple eight step process for dealing with seizures. Remember, the main objective is the safety of your child.

  1. Stay calm. That’s going to help both of you, and those around you.
  2. Stay near. Never leave your child during a seizure.
  3. Move away from danger. If your child is having a seizure near a point of danger, move the danger or your child.
  4. Use the recovery position. Roll your child into the recovery position and protect their head with something soft.
  5. Check your child’s breathing.
  6. Keep your fingers and other objects out of your child’s mouth
  7. Keep a note of the time and circumstances of the seizure if possible
  8. Get medical help

When is emergency medical aid required?

There are circumstances when you’ll need to call an ambulance straight away (the sooner you call, the faster help will arrive):

  • If the seizure lasts for longer than five minutes
  • If it was caused by a head injury, or happens in the water
  • The first time your child has a seizure
  • If your child’s breathing isn’t normal after the seizure, or if there is blueness around the lips

Finally, for those very rare children who suffer seizures on a regular basis: if the seizure being suffered is unlike those previously experienced, then call an ambulance.

When medical help does arrive, your calmness throughout will help you to explain the nature of the seizure, its effect, and, perhaps, even identify the cause.

 

Cooling the Fever

Flu Season

The body’s first natural reaction to an invasion by some foreign bacteria or unknown virus is to heat up, which usually produces a fever. This body heat is actually caused by an internal battle as antibodies are created to fight the invaders. It’s also a good sign – the body is fighting back against an illness – though it can make the sufferer miserable.

Does your child have a fever?

The best way to measure temperature is with a digital thermometer placed under the arm, making sure there is no clothing between skin and thermometer. A reading over 38 degrees Celsius is generally considered synonymous with fever.

How to treat fever

A fever can’t be treated: it is a symptom of illness and not an illness in itself. However, administering paracetamol or ibuprofen will make a child more comfortable, but that really is it. Be careful you don’t overdo dosages, though. Use only as directed!

Make sure plenty of fluids are taken: breast milk for babies, water, or rehydration fluids are all good choices.

Watch for complications

Be wary of complications and your child’s condition moving on from fever. A fever is a common cause of seizure, but you should be on the lookout for other symptoms, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of urinating
  • Floppiness of limbs
  • Not wanting to drink
  • Rash
  • Abnormal behaviour

As well as administering pain relieving medicine, you may want to remove some of your child’s clothing. If they start shivering, cover with a blanket: shivering creates body heat and will worsen the fever. For this reason you should never put your child in a cold bath or under a cold shower.

In some cases, fever may cause what is known as rigors – shaking of the arms and legs while remaining conscious. If this happens, you should visit the doctor or request a home visit.

How to Deal with Dental Injuries

Child missing front toothChildren suffer with their teeth from the get go. Almost as soon as they are born, it seems dental problems begin and pain raises its ugly head. Of course, ensuring your child follows good dental hygiene – combined with regular visits to the dentist – will help toward a lifetime of great looking and functional teeth. But children will be children, and take part in pursuits such as running, jumping, playing, and falling over. Accidents happen and teeth get damaged, or even knocked out.

First aid treatment for baby teeth

So-called baby teeth fall out naturally at around seven years of age, but may be injured before this. If a baby tooth is knocked out, you should never put it back into the socket: you risk fusing the socket and ruining the coming adult teeth. Instead, get your child to bite down on a clean cloth. This will help to calm them down and stop any bleeding. Put the tooth in some milk, and go to the dentist for treatment.

If the tooth hasn’t come out but instead is impacted, go to the dentist immediately.

Different treatment for permanent (adult) teeth

By the time your child has adult teeth, hopefully the random falling down and bumping into things will have stopped. But there are always stray laces to trip over, and cricket balls to take their place. Treatment is different when permanent teeth are damaged. Here are four steps to follow:

  1. Stay calm… Your calmness will help your child to stay calm, too
  2. Handle the tooth at the top (the ‘biting end’), and gently clean any dirt using milk or saline
  3. If the tooth will go back into the socket, put it there! Using a hanky or face washer as a buffer, ask your child to bite down to keep the tooth in place
  4. If you can’t easily replace the tooth in its socket, place it in milk or saline.
  5. Go to your dentist or an emergency dental service immediately

Summing up – keep calm, keep the tooth safe, and visit the dentist. Follow these simple first aid rules, and your child will always have their lovable smile.